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Image by Matt Howard


the madrigal, volume iv

so the gods mutter

by emily cotman

we pass time in the sand, side by side
with the gods, all unbound and unshodden
old echelons lost to the tide

they spin grains into palaces fine
into lace more exquisite than cotton
this sand that we share, side by side

while we press our hands fervently, try
to work patterns of our bones begotten
our fingerprints lost to the tide

and we rattle a breathless supply
an incessance of questions we oughtn’t
while we sit in the sand side by side

but the wind in our ears won’t subside
so the gods mutter Truths half-forgotten
old vanity lost to the tide

then they vanquish a storm with a sigh
and our thundering world wanes and softens
we remain in the sand, side by side
all our emptiness lost to the tide

Emily Cotman (she/her) writes and makes music in the little scavenged spaces of the work week. She specializes in reanimating the dead. Her words have found homes with Lumpen, Zero Readers, The Red Lemon Review, and Rough Trade Books. She lives gratefully on unceded Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ land. 

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