My Letters

Instead of counting syllables to the point of stress,
they’d like to climb atop each other,
dive from their pyramidal alphabet
into the teaspoon of saliva below.
While the consonants all put in mouthguards for their leap,
the vowels shut their eyes and begin to meditate.
Each letter has its own perfunctory mouth, opening and closing.
What I do not know is how my own mouth fills with them,
how I open it and, through a softening of the tongue,
they hatch from some deep pool
out to the vibrating air.
How they stumble toward each other and fasten into words.
How these clumsy hieroglyphics transcribe me.

Rebecca Macijeski's poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Clackamas Literary Review, Border Crossing, Fourteen Hills, Whiskey Island, Fickle Muses, Phantom Drift, and others. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she currently serves as the assistant poetry editor for Hunger Mountain. She is studying toward a PhD in poetry at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, where she an assistant editor in poetry for Prairie Schooner. Three of her poems were chosen as winners of a 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. She has been awarded artist residencies with The Ragdale Foundation and Art Farm Nebraska.