you are in the diode archives v5n3



After Easter

Pastor says the church reeks
            like a funeral parlor, so we troll
            the narthex and sanctuary, pull
                        stems from murky vases,

brush petals from the choir loft.
            This year, the lilies, each named
            for a dead saint or the “glory
                        of God,” refused to open,

despite the furnace, despite the heat
            lamps we held over their folded
            bodies, despite prayers shed
                        over clenched veins.

Since I was a child, I dreaded Easter,
            since we held sunrise services
            at houses of the dying, since
                        the early hours clawed

at our throats, flattened our hymns
            against hills stricken with dawn. 
            I would wander into the weeds,
                        gorge myself on fistfuls

of marshmallow birds, craving
            their bodies’ grit, aching to gag,
            aching for our dead Christ
                        to rise from my green body.


On the Feast of Epiphany

Tonight, the peninsula in lunar glow revealed:
               stripped maples a darkboned host
                              against the bluff, tin shanties like magicians
          fishing visions from ice. As children, here,
                     mothers coaxed our tongues into prayers
for mild winters and taught us to cull from them our grim deliverance:
                     cellars filled with coldblood cherries, deer strung cruciform
     from shed rafters. We learned to play dead,
                              our small skulls clustered
               like dry milkweed on the classroom floor, faces curled to knees,
fingers knotted to protect necks from wild beasts.
               We carved hard our fingers to chisel breathspace in avalanche,                               learned to trail the North Star home.
          Years later, my brother studies clouds, tells me storm
will break the next morning. Once I, too, could divine first snow,
                              but his predictions are miracles to me now.
            The horizon, wool-gray, folds silence                              
                       over silence. The firmament refuses to speak to me.
I’ve forgotten how to interpret sky, to read revelations in its starless signs.  


Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in the Mountain West, Leah Silvieus is a recipient of an Alfred Boas Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets as well as residencies from Kundiman and the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation. Her work has been featured at the O, Miami Poetry Festival, and Asian American Women Artist Association and has appeared or is forthcoming in Asian American Poetry & Writing, Diode, Melusine, The Monarch Review, Rock & Sling, and CaKe.