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Freight train moving alongside river - Poems by Emma Sedlak

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One morning you may wake
to find our molecules bonding:
shared memories
that make no sense
when split apart.

Even over
four distances, say,
the breadth of an ocean
or famous mountain range,
your presence is in me

like a single falling stone
in a wall of canyons,
like the ripple made by air
skirting the dark
surface of the lake.
 

Doig: No Foreign Land

This poem is based on two paintings by the Scottish artist Peter Doig, Lapeyrouse Wall and House of Flowers (See you there).

Even the wall
has its own shadow
when the dark
night air spreads
through branches
like oil in pipes.

The horizon is
where we draw
the line
between us
and the unknown.

The boy in white
climbs up to
the heart
of the tree
and climbs

over

and over
until he looks
like a caught moon
stuck in the sky.
 

Dreams About Trains

The train runs deep
through the valley
and steam layers clouds
with its own excess.

In all the dreams
she is a passenger
who has yet to arrive.

The tracks are nimble
and constant and we ride
on them like a tightrope
netted with water-fields-air.

She dreams in trains.
Missing trains, lost for days,
trains there and back.

Catching the train, losing luggage.
Reclaimed bags, losing children.
Taking the children safely
to the other side of journeys.

Funny how life can catch
on a certain theme
that ebbs and dips, but still runs.

We plan so many things
that never happen.
So many things happen
we never planned.

The tracks run deep and carve
up the mountain, threading
right on through the other side.
 

Not Written

The letters are not written
because it’s easier to lie
through the voice
than in the honesty of ink.

The letters that are not written
don’t say we’re all fine here.

The letters are not written
because even words
clot up quickly
in the chaos of our lives.

They don’t say
I am lost in all the choices.

The letters are not written
because where words are concerned
there is a thin line
between a sign and a stain.

They don’t say
happiness is enough.
 

Before September

i. 

Love is beginnings and endings. And where the ending begins, the last stopping point.

Love is, “take me with you.”

Love is throwing the black baseball cap onto the bonfire after time has worn it through to its frayed blue threads.

Love is the reality next to this.

Love is two parallel lines that never touch.

Love is leaving, as soon as it arrives.

ii. 

There is a possible moment
where things go right.
And another moment
where gravity exists.

As far as I’m concerned
there’s nothing wrong
with having company.

I don’t want you
to say no
to something
that makes you happy.

iii. 

Love is a pattern we all repeat until the record wears out.

Love is a new record, which we steal when they’re not looking. Because love is also a new obsession.

Love is you know me better than I know me in the mirror.

Love is the heart putting words in the mouth.

Love is a better way to break apart.

Love is a meditation on risking reality.

Let me walk you home. Love is out there, waiting.

iv. 

September came and went
without a fanfare,
so fast
I can’t remember
the nights
I looked out alone
at that one moon.
 

Letter to My Husband

Walk down to the stream sometime as if it were the ocean: small waves at your feet, a constant traveller. Sit and rest while the tide hurries on—hand it your shoes, socks, build a dam of rocks and know the next eyes to see them will not be your eyes. Apologize: to your feet if you’ve misused them, to your heart and lungs if you’ve bruised them, to your energy for excusing everything that drained it. Displace your stress.

Let it float downstream.

In the office, no one knows where you have been—don’t make up stories. Words aren’t enough for most people and they still think time is boring, or something to rush through until the friction strips years off them. Tell them you think you’ve had a dream of how monotony grows into meaning.

Pour a glass of water. But treat it like the stream.

Emma Sedlak is a Scottish-American writer-singer-poet (which means she would have been great as a minstrel or scribe a few hundred years ago!). Currently a communications designer in Sydney, Australia, she helps people create deep, intuitive content and narratives. On the web, she lives at EmmaSedlak.com, and on Twitter @TheBedsidePoet.

image: BANFF NATIONAL PARK, CANADA via tjwvandongen / Shutterstock.com

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