the field, the river

Steffi Lang


a garden of sad mothers, drooping like chrysanthemums. the mother, 
a flicker between moth and cupboard, deer and fog. 

they gave me the garden’s name so that I would share its wound. 

I remember the village of blue adobe, my sisters peddling their amethysts, 
lilacs, and sugar. I remember the fig-eaters, the tea-coloured birds, 
the butterfly mosque where my father kneels. 

he places a clay bird in my palm. I touch his cheek
and know his sorrow as that of violins
abandoned to lichenous, winter orchards. 


he said to find the garden is to find all things beneath their names

the poem becomes the field where you carry me, 
your pronoun, a word for the light.   

I bury the clay bird and mourn that all things are lost
to me in their future absences. and this is the grief of rivers. 

I wanted to write the light, but instead I wrote the river. 
I wanted to find the garden, but they bound me in the field. 

at dusk they find my blue dress in the chaff. 
you laid my body on the threshing floor and my body was the wheat.   
when you speak my name, I weep. I flee to the garden. 



Steffi Lang is a 23-year old Latina-German writer originally from the Texas-Mexico borderland, but now living in rural Appalachia. Her work has been published in just a handful of places, including Literary Orphans, Cyberhex Press, and Goblin Fruit among others.