And these are the ways we talk to each other by Leslie Harrison

Do this he says or try and I try and I say white pine

say lilac and snow at dawn say a litany of milkweed

fescue and cinnamon fern I say this city is killing me

is actually killing me so I wake in the never-dark

afraid of my own heart which keeps skirling up

into storm insistent on its strange ache and patter

keeps buffeting against the sheets the chairs beating

its wings over these domestic plates ceramic born

of dirt and fire impervious to both salt and weight

I carry this heart clattering now like a jar full of pebbles

full also of furious wind I carry it like a half-tame bat

all echolocation careen and squeal I carry it like a song

threnody of fear and desire the way it knocks insistent

at the door then lets no one in
Leslie Harrison’s second book, The Book of Endings (University of Akron), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, West Branch and elsewhere. She lives in Baltimore and teaches at Towson University.