selections from The Year of Safe Lightning




Suppositions like ‘death wish’ and ‘finite’ and ‘put it past us.’ Tender sweet grasp and to ache

the ache of inquest and not answering with delight. Cold shouldered and I walked home with an

apple in my pocket. I kept taking it out on walks with me. Every day it gained new sensitivities

until finally I had to recognize it was:


> misunderstood


  > a lost cause

       >un-gallant                                                                                           >un-appled


.   >de-crisped

       >softened from            too much    touch    >











Pallbearer of a sky. This season of uneasy lighting shades us. Ineloquent we remembered the

flexible sun of last month and the safety in indoor bulbs the season before.
















A pedantic brother of what aided us throughout the year. A silent halo to un-encumber all those

‘what a drag’ and ‘give it up for___!’ Parents dither and the memorial for the limo death was

held in the peace pagoda nearby. Limo memorial I serve drinks to the mourners and notice how

many hard bellies are in the room. It’s September and they will soon fade to softness. By touch

or other remedies.







> Could you hold on to this key for me?   >



As if I was more foreign to this place

Like underwater, or, sunfish unlock doors Now it’s like:

communicate through vastness

must pluck own plenitudes out of distance



 >highway 90 West

 two telephone calls through to my mother

 am i there      yet am i there       >



If it was midnight

the men arguing across the street

would be punching each other

    >   Into star-ness >


Midday becomes still at the basketball

court The victim of not-being-tall

weeps with a bag of potato chips and every

time is not enough Through the windows of

the parked sedan, not-speaking is always smashing

bottles, just like my father,

        >      this might make it the last one am i done    yet>



As if like at the meeting we both agreed: trust creates the best mistakes

That woman’s knee kept knocking against mine, a pen fell off my lap and I thought

the one it pointed at should be the one I sleep with later A boyfriend is just

a stranger you trusted you wanted next to you,


       >    am i his lover am

   i writing mine?     >



Some nights I walk late with the

dog and stare too long at windows

with people moving in them

I don’t know        >if I enjoy this                          I just           know I

    enjoy everything   >



As if thinking it was my father who taught me that we are linear. The road back to him looked that way


   >      this is what what i mean   am i     there   >


Oh, keys

and how

many will I leave in the safety of strangers If to

other strangers I will

point out the door

Emma Post is a writer and teacher living in Upstate NY. She received her MFA from Brown University and now works at an artist residency hosted in a haunted Shaker building as well as teaching writing at SUNY Albany.