Building as Cradle

               support, frame, structure, framework, 
               underpinning, foundation, crib, hold 

At the base, knees and shins, what isn't bruised 
or wounded, the slightest movement of sling or swing 
carves breath, breath, breath. What contains 
this small frame, spindle and spine 
long like spirals of pulled glass, the distance 
splayed before you, and reaching. Embrace 
each sharp point, walls sweated into elbows, embers 
burrowed into floorboards, ambered into ash. 
Suspended between root and lift, you and heat 
this shadow, this shelter, this drift. Only after 
do you realize the shadows are pilgrims, the columns 
rows of ghosts. Hollow ribcage, welcome them 
with buffered pulse, crowd out the echo 
that sounds, then splinters against bone 
fragments of ritual, journey. What protects 
this home, what breaks, what we build and build again.

Flight as Conversation

         trip, journey, voyage, hop, 
         tour, talk, exchange, natter 
“I wanted to ask you about flight or fracture,” 
what the wing articulates with its dip and lift.” 
“I imagine thermals as crowds, fluxes followed 
and ignored, the rutted path to height.” 
“These crest clouds below, gristled cartilage, they stretch 
and connect. The compacted vertebrae of the mountains.” 
“Everywhere, body.” “What of the hollow bones?” 
“And the dark shape that glides over the backs of clouds?” 
“The bones, narrow, not marrowless, infused with air, 
that dark bird circling. It hovers, hungry.” 
"Even static, I lilt, absorbing the swoops and dives, 
at sparrows dodging between branches, hungry, too." 
“What are we to do, then, open-mouthed and grounded?” 
“Let’s unravel our voices like kites.” “Wingless, we walk 
still connected to sky.” 

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Shape as Echo  

         form, figure, silhouette, contour 
         resonance, repeat, boom, ricochet 

We could be a cave, caverns and limestone, the steady pulse of minerals into shapes, rivers of stone. What grows around us, or inside, what shapes this formlessness, our breath crystallized, cast into pattern. Rustle and swerve, these shadows exhaled in dancing figures, flickers that bend the walls just beyond our eyes. What we almost see. Like fingers, shapes divining water, metal. Reflections, shifting and misshapen, call to us, splice themselves into fissures, into absence. Can you hear it, this gap, the fall of droplets, the way cells twist and split, grow and divide, shape the invisible into monument. Arc and angle, curve and line, contour and bone, this shape we will learn by feel, by form, by movement. We yell into the darkness and wait for the voice to find its way back, multiplied and choral, screams pushed back into our mouths. 

Callista Buchen is the poetry editor for Beecher's and the winner of DIAGRAM's essay contest and the Langston Hughes award. Her work has appeared in Gigantic, Gargoyle, Bellevue Review, Arsenic Lobster, and The Literary Review. 

Amy Ash is a Pushcart nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American poets prize, and her poems have been published in various journals, including Mid-American Review, Salamander, Harpur Palate, and Prick of the Spindle. Her book The Open Mouth of the Vase (winner of the 2013 Cider Press Review Book Award) will be published in January 2015.