Friday 1 October 2021



by Emily Black

Sunlight dances on a beach in Sicily.
It casts deep shadows beneath huge boulders
as I scramble over a stone wall,
and down sea-soaked steps. I am wearing 
a white cotton dress. It’s early October, 
and still warm. A fishing-boat lolls offshore.
Seagulls reel in the cloud-wisped sky;
their cries sound lonely. Tall cypress trees cling
to cliffs above, and sway their branches to scatter
a resiny conifer smell, clean and crisp.
My every pore devours this rapturous perfume,
and I weave it in my hair.
I came here fearing life like it was a dread disease.
My cure, I decided, was to wash away all
that crept into my soul dragging misery with it.
A train whistles in the distance and a long stream
of white smoke billows behind it like ghosts
as it crosses a viaduct on a cliff high above.
In a few days I will be on that same train to Rome
and then home. A tattered relationship awaits my return.
Life is an arduous journey through canyons of love.
I recall his hair and the smell of him, not at all
unlike the smells of Sicily: enticing, delicious.
I bury myself in thoughts of him. How impossible 
it is loving a man! Love that is joy dredged in sorrow, 
when a broken heart is left to drag behind. 

* * * * *

Emily Black, the second woman to graduate from the University of Florida in Civil Engineering, engaged in a long engineering career as the only woman in a sea of men. Lately she’s been busy writing vignettes of her life and has two poems in the March issue of Verse-Virtual and more to be printed in the June issue of Door is A Jar and the October issue of Sac Magazine. Emily was selected as Poet of the Week by Poetry Super Highway for the week of March 22-28, 2021.

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