c o n v e r g e n c e:
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EDITOR'S CHOICE: cynthia linville's

Lytton Bell

Improbable Exit by Myles Boisen
Improbable Exit by Myles Boisen


by Lytton Bell

After Grandpa died, I asked them why
they covered the mirrors
before they prayed and cried
Vanity, my aunt explained
is unacceptable during mourning

Shiva is to protect you, said my mother
from the debilitating vision
of your own grief

I myself knew better
I told no one about the dream I’d been having
ever since his stroke
Where Grandpa walked with me
through the vast rooms of a white house
with no roof

So after the funeral
while the others were all preoccupied
with the wrapped casseroles
flowers and visitors

I snuck upstairs to the hallway mirror
pulled aside the white bedsheet
just enough to see him there

Can you come out, Grandpa?
He shook his head, his eyes glistening
And when I reached for his hand
my fingers sank into the reflective surface
like it was water

I wanted so badly to walk through that thin veil
between realms
But I also knew instinctively that
the mirror would harden again soon
and I could be trapped there, a
overly-curious Persephone with no hope of spring

I pulled the sheet down again quickly
when I heard footsteps starting up the stairs
But it was just my uncle heading to the bathroom
And when I peeked beneath the sheet again
Grandpa was gone

The mirror, hard and shiny
showed only a pale girl surrounded by space
that would never feel uninhabited again


by Lytton Bell

You were wrong
You do not need to be loved
There are other reasons for living
other pleasures

Lively music of birds who cry out to one another in their loneliness
Trees whose dark, bare branches thrust out toward
any reciprocated touch
A winter storm with hail and lightning —
and the wind almost seemed to caress you
as it passed you by

You can touch your shadow
You can touch your reflection
See how the glistening eyes shine back at you, even in the dark?

You can feel that there is a god
present in even the smallest things:
red of apple skin, the wrinkles
around a mouth

You can drown your silent tongue in burning wine
and ply your empty gut with cake and pastry
You can talk to yourself
or call any phone number just to hear a human tone

You can fix things, or you can
break them
See? They shatter so gracefully, as if
their breaking were as intrinsic a part of them
as their color or size

Like you
Your breaking was that
breathtaking too
Had anyone been there to see it
or share it
then surely

the birds, trees, storm
shadow, reflection
apple, wine, cake
the broken glasses and plates
and even
the stranger who hissed "wrong number"
would shake with the force of all the love
you do not need

Lytton Bell

Lytton Bell

Lytton Bell has published two chapbooks, won five poetry contests and performed at many local venues, including the Sacramento Poetry Center, Luna’s Café and The Book Collector, to name a few. Her work has appeared in over two dozen poetry journals, web sites and e-zines. She lives in Sacramento, California. Ms. Bell earned a poetry scholarship to the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts in 1988, where she studied with Deb Burnham and Len Roberts. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bryn Mawr College in 1993 and went on to study poetry with the legendary Molly Fisk. Ms. Bell can be reached at lytton_bell@hotmail.com.

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