May 22, 2015 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION




Jocelyn Mosman





You are every stretch of tendon,

wrist flexed, then relaxed,

the curvature of a hand,

steady and bent.


You are brain stem activity,

words and pain both flowing

down your spinal cord

until it is too hard to write.


You are mouth and throat,

soft spoken and fragile,

swallowing blood,

choking back heart.


You rely on the body:

hand to write,

spine to stand,

mouth to speak.


As you collapse inward

like a burning house,

all I can do is hold sound

the walls,


resist the destruction,

or flee.


I will not leave.

I will not watch you burn.


I will guide your hand,

until words flow past

unspeakable pain

onto open page.


I will stand tall beside you,

become sturdy,

lumbar vertebrae,

help you climb and stretch.


I will give your voice legacy,

as student, as friend,

next generation of oral tradition

passed hand-to-hand like communion,


but when the house smolders,

the skeleton screams,

the joints crack.

I smell smoke.


As body relies on body,

I rely on you.


I will not leave.

I will not watch you burn.











You are rhythm turning words

into music and music

into air and air into lungs.

You are each vertebrae standing

straight and tall,

each lump in the throat

swallowing back pain for pride.





You are still so young at heart,

but an old soul.

You speak trees

into existence,

climb on nothing until

branches appear beneath you.

You spoke me

into existence, too.





You remind me that space

is key to understanding,

but I don’t understand.

When your body attacks

itself from the inside,

you are silent.

You leave space.





You remind me that

comedy is tragedy plus time.

Your pain, reflected

will always be

tragic, no matter how much

time passes.





When everyone else faded,

you stood and listened;

against a tilted world,

you did not abandon me.

When canyons formed,

you showed me freedom.





You speak

trees into existence,

make spiritual connections

with roots and trunk and leaves.

I am not a tree to be spoken into,

but my heart is gnarly and

I can give you










Jocelyn Mosman

Jocelyn Mosman is a junior at Mount Holyoke College, majoring in English and Politics. She will be studying at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK this fall. She is also a member of the Northampton Poetry Slam Team to compete at the National Poetry Slam this August in Oakland, California. She has published two volumes of poetry and is currently working on a third.



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