Two poems by Emily Vizzo • Empty Mirror

riversound / credit: deriversound / credit: de

Toward Openness

Bound in red fir, the fragrant breath of a Central Valley
As they say breadbasket, an open data,

Bound in headwaters, the Mokelumne, the San Joaquin.
The bottomlands. Eggs from the fairy shrimp deep in the mud waiting for rain.

Above a raptor. Below three remnants of a songbird, a Flower Pot map,
A Toolbox quadrant, a tundra swan. One measurement of quinine. Coding

In panic. Men in black suits. Palms on the wall. Oysters in the aftermath.
Sugarcane. A baseball field. A citizen of science. Women in black

Suits riding toward a summer wedding, an astronomer counting
Fingers, and I am in in a pink flowered robe and the window is open,

You’ll be all right in a minute, Audrey Hepburn says.

What then? A foreign city outside.
Railroads. And I am tired of walls.

Tempering, Harmonizing: A Musing on Native Data

One island trench neck and neck with the rain, a delicate

Blue dress borrowed from existing data, buried in white sugar,

Numeral grip, the first place I loved the earthly things, three

Parachutes opening in an ambulance of data. November

Storm breaking over my head in a room where no nature

Takes place. Butter in your coffee. Lavender and thyme

Wishing at the window. Basil, borage. The day a stone boat.

Songs, but of an ordinary, military kind. Some solution pulling

Me at the hair. Brushing my eyelids with angelica florets, effervescent

Data. Suckle, labiate. The pretty pink ring. Saucerless, a charm

Spelled in violet ink. Love of hunger is the first love.

I prick my solution’s palm with cloves. The morning

A botany pressing a cold spoon to my neck.

I am told a good way to begin hunger is to begin with

The mouth.

Emily Vizzo

Emily Vizzo is the author of Giantess (YesYes Business Relationships). A National Geographic Educator and former Artist in Residence with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, she was a recent panelist at the Nobel Prize Teacher Summit in Stockholm, Sweden and is translating from Italian. She served on the Executive Committee in Santa Barbara for the Surfrider Foundation to help protect the coastline and ocean for California’s Central Coast. Her free, public science and creative writing workshops received a 2018 Coastal Fund grant through the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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