white rose and pink smoke

Poetry No. 63 – Ceridwen Hall

Before we swim beyond speaking distance

by Ceridwen Hall

June 2021

my younger sister lights a candle; she sings
furtively—having learned to love
my sensitive ears, my cloak of solitude.
Because her cloak is happiness, she commands
a wish. I honor this, having learned to scale
my dreams for safe passage.

If what I remember is how to vanish and surface
between old arguments, her instinct is to summon
minnows. All this momentary joy. And I’m still clumsy,
trying to speak around how hollow I can grow, how
permeable. Too much of anything scalds.
I’ll be pink tomorrow, but I can see now: our fins
would be iridescent, if visible, our hair tangled
with living green. Our voices, yes, a bit dangerous.

My sister sings fast and low. I’ll remember, as we turn
from shore, the plume of smoke rising between our faces.


Ceridwen Hall is a poet and book coach. She is the author of two chapbooks: Automotive (Finishing Line Press) and Excursions (Train Wreck Press). Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Tar River Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, and other journals. You can find her at www.ceridwenhall.com.

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