Voices By Emily Burns

Voices

i don’t hear the voices
on the other side of the line yet

as a dispatch operator in training
i only see the calls in queue
mostly waiting for ems squads
to come and check all the vitals

sometimes they radio back
waiting for patient decision

sometimes i hear patient refused
treatment
against medical advice

there are trips to the hospital
and symptoms
and problems

sometimes a bright spot

little girl rescued from the flooded creek

patient has been delivered code 12
no emergency

there is a language
all our own

like we are trying to keep
the rest of the world
out of the conversation

codes and signals
that only we know

one day soon
the voices will be mine

and my voice will be delivered
to the sick and afflicted

maybe my voice will carry
them back to safety

By Emily Burns

Biography:

Emily Burns is a student of history, spending much of her spare time sewing her family’s wardrobe of 18th and 19th century clothes. She volunteers at several historic sites around her home in central Kentucky; teaching about women’s skills of the past. Emily has been reading poetry since the age of twelve and began exploring voice and writing about ten years ago.

Emily holds a B.A. in English from the University of Kentucky and has published several books. Dalliance, poetry with images in words that describe the hills, the countryside, the flora and fauna and the heart of a Kentucky poet, which was published by Old Seventy Creek Press in 2010. She edited and published John Sternemann’s posthumous anthology Banging a Drum: words from sacred spaces in 2014.

Historic publications include, The Children’s Civil War Alphabet Book, an abcedarian book that includes photos and stories from her living history adventures with her own kids. Emily also published Our Receipts: a Civil War cookbook, which includes various recipes from the mid-19th century, including a variety of main dishes and dessert as used in Civil War reenactments. Tea and Manners, a compilation of articles describing fashion, etiquette and recipes for a 19th century tea. And finally, What a Lady Should Know about Health and Medicine in the mid-19th Century, which is a compilation of articles from period sources including recipes for common cures from the pre-Civil War era.

Washed By Rain By Marie Anzalone

 Washed By Rain 

el sol llora para nosotros esta tarde

[the sun weeps for us this afternoon]

and all the laundresses in the land could haul these muddied shirts

     up to the washing place, and scrub them on the rocks until their knuckles bleed

         yet still not remove those stains we put on them today.

a blouse, just the width of a man’s spread fingers, palm flat, as if to strike a blow,

     the blow we do not dare turn on the ones holding rifles

                  to our machete wielding forms and figures.

Figures, then, silhouetted in flames, and another blouse, split up the front, in slices

         newly embroidered with a fresh application of fine scarlet along the jagged seam,

                       its owner’s unborn prize taken as a token of our passing.

Dios nos perdona manana, por lo que hicimos hoy

[God forgive us tomorrow for what we did today]

I wrap these images and sounds and places now in silence so deep

         three generations will not make me speak, ever, of the burning chapel smell

                   because the mind slips sideways when a man beholds the crookedness.

I learned today a knife carves arms like cornstalks, splits abdominals like a gourd skin

     into this, the land of maize and trees, were we led by los locuras-

        as men asked to do murderers’s deeds, for our state long after it abandoned us-

and I keep a remnant of a charred anciano’s shirt, solely for remembrance

       that you never know what you can do until demanded by a uniformed soldado

            holding a torch to your home and a knife to her throat.

Their work here is done, and the ashes settle into the afternoon sky

          soon the seasonal evening rains will wash the hallowed ground clean

               because when survival is tantamount, you no longer care that your side is right.

solo cuida lo que permita que exista un otro dia.

[you only care for what lets you exist another day]

I will ask my wife to take these pants to the laundry stone to fade the stains-

    and pray they never think that we support the guerilla here, but will tell my children

            about the place I know they can run to, just in case.

There is now a field of loose dirt in what used to be the neighbor’s town

          and there are probably none who will ever think to look there, again-

               for any trace of the living.

By Marie Anzalone

 

Biography:

Marie Anzalone currently splits her time between residences in New England and upstate NY in the United States and Guatemala in Central America. Originally from Appalachian Pennsylvania, she spent her early years studying ecology and nature first-hand in the woods around her home. She is an artist, scientist, writer, economics master’s degree candidate, avid outdoorswoman and start-up director of an international development non-profit organization. She has been published in human rights journals, scientific journals, and poetry anthologies. She writes fiction and non-fiction in both English and Spanish. She attempts in her writing to bridge the gap between real world influence and the individual’s inner journey to find spirit and meaning. Anzalone released two collections of poetry in 2014. Her debut collection is called A Pilgrimage in Epistles:: Poems as Letters and Observations. Her sophomore offering is titled Peregrinating North-South Compass Points: Poems in English and Spanish.