Saturday, March 24, 2012

Elizabeth Switaj


 Caprico(u)rn is feminine, dominated by the knees
 We turn skin Our ho(u)rns spear into tulle
                                 and dance its wispy bands
drawing down the snow
                                       as if the rabbit in the moon
                                   wept & froze

                                     Our knees,  
                      remnants of walking,
bend just enough beneath Our scales
to call what we do kneeling
                                                          fins fading blue

We gather
snow into a dome
light a candle, pray a scroll
                                                           leave satsumas for gods

                        who will turn Us back to one

 Caprico(u)rn w(oul)d love    to say I again
o(u)r, if not, fade into preserved by salt



People flit against each other, bright shirts flapping like long, loose fins, and I’m against 
the glass. Maybe I’m the goldfish as my mouth goes o when they sing. I sing; they talk to 
each other. The rhythm of pause and take, the echoing of tones I can’t hear. They’re all 
the same. I bang my nose on the glass. I want to be near them.

When I leap against their legs I can breathe. Then oxygen’s too much for me. And sound. 
I panic. I flop. I flap. A meltdown. A fit. And back into the bowl again. It doesn’t hurt my 
fins, my skin to be in water, the silence, constant pressure. But the people are so beautiful. 
I watch. I want. To flop again.


And Rest in Silence

Even at night there is no silence
Even in sun there is no safe
corner or straight for kids who love
in violet—not taupe—who hold
hands no larger hands protect
from teeth at hallway’s end

where taunts & jeers don’t end,
where you learn to pray for silence
since no one will speak to protect
you. Their bones would not be safe.
Take my bones in your skin. Hold
my ashes to the wind, my love.

We’ll show them what it means to love.
Don’t let this be the end.
There’s only so much you can hold,
and there’s no silence
in the wind, no safe
-ty for what winds protect.

Let the trees behind the track protect
us from the wind—and hide our love
in evergreen & elm, safe
from hanged man’s fated end
from silence
I can no longer hold.

Two girls walk by. They hold
our hands as well as theirs. Protect
our prayers for silence.
I love you, and you love
her & me & him & that’s the end 
Even our bones are not safe.

Even our skin is not safe
since it’s with skin we touch & hold
each other & the rope to end
our lives, to protect
our memories of love 
we do not kneel, we pray for silence.

The safe will never protect
love from those who hold
the power to end  the thrall of silence.



  1. salvatore fittipaldiMarch 25, 2012 at 9:10 AM


  2. You are such a great writer, Elizabeth!

    The goldfish one pulled me in from stem to stern! Glad I got back into the bowl again.

  3. All so different and wonderful in so many ways! I think I like the goldfish best, but And Rest in Silence gives us so much to think about.