A calmness lies still between leaves,
as numb and drunk as night.
It has the shape of violet.
Not in any particular time, but in multiple time periods all at once,
and swims among the branches,
sinisterly, like a cricket.
Its mouth opens,
deep and black like a well;
asphalt reflected in a black ocean mirror,
turned to ashes and congealed.
Except for its tongue, swollen,
blocking the hum of the city.
Silence reigns, luminous and taut.
To read about it is one thing,
but when you suddenly try to imagine it,
and carry the image around inside of you,
that’s something else entirely.
Sometimes, I see it as it was
and sometimes I see it in flames.
I mumble to it,
quickly and hushed, so nobody hears.
And when it answers,
I’m positive nobody hears.
It’s my secret.
Imagine somebody hears me talking to it.
Surely they’d say I was crazy, right?
But after one of these conversations,
I sleep soundly
and then get up the next morning
and go to work.
Inside me there’s a chaotic mixture
of different moments and decades,
echoing inside my chest
like a bell;
but every day there are less.
And in the stillness,
I pick white flowers,
to match her white hair.
It laughs and says it is still cold.
I’d feel more comfortable laying down.
But I am already laying down.
Here between the leaves.
Ana Cottle studied Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley with a concentration in feminist Yiddish poetry. Born and raised in Southern California, she has also lived in Uruguay and Argentina and speaks both Spanish and Yiddish. Ana currently serves as the Poetry Editor for Carve Magazine. Her poetry and essays are forthcoming or published in the Ofi Press, Eunoia Review, Mesorah Matrix, Digital Culturist, the Tempest, and the Establishment.