Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

Entries organized under word play

in darkness & light

January 22, 2017

elizabethhalt.com | in darkness & light

i’m rattling the earth
from a cage without bars.
i’m silent as fury
in wars about wars.

i spit and i sputter –
snap crackle and scorn.
i wait and i wither –
beholden and torn.

surrounded yet lonely,
i’m chilled to the bone.
my spirit is weary.
my heart-strings are worn.

there’s chaos within
and destruction without.
down float feathers from angels;
a bomb took them out.

i can’t seem to find me
in darkness and night;
until i remember
i’m darkness and light.

3am

November 12, 2016

elizabethhalt.com | 3am

it’s 3am –
the dead of night.
my fears have grown
larger than life.

the trees are black
in the blackest night.
they pierce my heart
with shards of ice.

the shadows are long;
they pull me in.
my life seems over
before it begins.

the wolves are howling,
their voices raw.
they’re on my trail,
nose to the ground.

the water is calling;
it’s running aground.
its black depths surround me;
it wants me to drown.

when daylight comes,
they’re all my friends.
the light stops the stories
that swim in my head.

homecoming

September 11, 2016

elizabethhalt.com | homecoming

water was my first home.
for 9 months, i floated in a warm salty sea.

it
was
dark
      & close
            & loud.

lub-dub.
lub-dub.
lub-dub.

the steady rhythm of my mother’s heartbeat soothed me.

water was my first home.
whenever i am in the lake –

where watery arms cradle me,
where waves sing to me –

somewhere
deep
inside,

i remember.

i remember the ontonagon river

April 29, 2016

elizabethhalt.com | i remember the ontonagon river

i remember how the water slipped & slid & tumbled down the black rocks. when it reached the bottom of the falls, it raced along the river banks and careened around the bend as if it were late for a date with its beloved friend the sea.

the light that afternoon was like an indulgent smile bestowed on a dearly beloved child.

what i mean by that is: the light didn’t try to stop the river; the light didn’t admonish the river for hurrying; the light simply watched the river run and loved it more than anything.

atlas says stay

January 25, 2016

elizabethhalt.com | this is everything

i curl up at the foot of the bed,
a stack of pillows behind me,
journal & pen in my hand.

you are lying
lengthwise
on the bed,
(on your bed, you’d say)
your head near me.

you wriggle
backward-forward
backward-forward
backward-forward
until
your head
touches
my thigh.

you push your head against me,
burrowing in.

your head
finally
at rest,
you let out a long groan-sigh.

it says, this is nice.
it says, i am content.
it says, stay.

the sound
enters
my ears,
slips down
my spine,
and lands
in my heart.

if i could,
i would stay
here
forever.

i got

January 18, 2016

elizabethhalt.com | i got

i got crazy beams
& criss-cross seams
& tire tracks on my soul.

i got rattled gears
& rattlesnake ears
& thunderstorms in the snow.

i got panthers with their claws unfurled
& hear the lilies speak through tears
& even after all these years
a still noon tells me no.

my own dog

August 5, 2015

elizabethhalt.com | my own dog

the car stops.

two legs step down.
four legs jump down.
feet (& paws) on the ground.
relief.

the leash comes off.
freedom!
nose in the air, he runs down the sandy beach,
further & further
until
she can fit him
on her index finger.

he looks different somehow.
head
higher.
back
straighter.

when he finally returns,
when panic has made her voice
hoarse,
her mind
dizzy,
she hugs him in relief.

what were you doing?

i was pretending i was my own dog.

a singing fire

August 3, 2015

elizabethhalt.com | a singing fire

beauty is the sound of a milkweed lament
throbbing around a singing fire
and life
echoing through a whirlwind of elastic fireflies.

the twelve days of christmas – a tiny story of serendipity

January 28, 2015

elizabethhalt.com | the twelve days of christmas - when you're a dog owner

back in december, i mentioned that i was unsuccessful in my attempt to find my terrible + humorous parody of the 12 days of christmas featuring an adorable + saucy pup named atlas.

last night, i took down my grandparents’ christmas decorations. when i put their wreath back in the spare room closet, i noticed a single card on the floor. i opened the card to see if it was a blank card (which goes in one place) or a saved card (which goes in another).

the card was the christmas card i sent them in 2004, the year after i got atlas. inside the card was a piece of paper with my 12 days of christmas poem.

you can imagine my surprise + delight!

i am sharing the poem here, even though it’s well after christmas, so i will always have it.

the twelve days of christmas – when you’re a dog owner.

on the first day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the second day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – two sloppy kisses and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the third day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the fourth day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the fifth day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – five sque-ea-kers, four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the sixth day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – six teeth a nibbling, five sque-ea-kers, four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the seventh day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – seven cats a howling, six teeth a nibbling, five sque-ea-kers, four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the eighth day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – eight friends a barking, seven cats a howling, six teeth a nibbling, five sque-ea-kers, four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the ninth day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – nine children running, eight friends a barking, seven cats a howling, six teeth a nibbling, five sque-ea-kers, four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the tenth day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – ten loud howls, nine children running, eight friends a barking, seven cats a howling, six teeth a nibbling, five sque-ea-kers, four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the eleventh day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – eleven mile hikes, ten loud howls, nine children running, eight friends a barking, seven cats a howling, six teeth a nibbling, five sque-ea-kers, four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

on the twelfth day of christmas, my puppy gave to me – twelve ignored commands, eleven mile hikes, ten loud howls, nine children running, eight friends a barking, seven cats a howling, six teeth a nibbling, five sque-ea-kers, four smelly paws, three pillows’ stuffing, two sloppy kisses, and one cold wet nose waking me from sleep.

gratitude

November 26, 2014

elizabethhalt.com | gratitude

for my atlas pup, my family, my friends;
for kindhearted strangers;
for snow-covered pines, wild apples, autumn leaves, wildflowers;
for a roof over my head and food on my plate;
for capsule wardrobes, plaid scarves & fedoras;
for lilacs, cranberry bogs, clover, daisies;
for lake superior;
for clotheslines and gardens;
for savannah, benjamin, lars, lily, andrew, brady & sam;
for lattes, ice cream cones & homemade pie;
for lavender + pale pink sunrises and heart-shaped rocks;
for my four niece-kitties;
for warm smiles via skype, long hugs & even longer conversations with old + new friends;
for postcards in the mail and real life shared;
for toes in the sand, snowshoe hikes & icy dips in the lake;
for bonfires on the beach and sunday afternoon games;
for the northern lights, the milky way & orion;
for owl feathers, shed antlers, baby foxes, dragonflies;
for farkle, fantasy books & candy crush;
for a blue jay named fred and a chainsaw bear named buddy;
for yin yoga, snow scoops, squats, hilly trails;
for unexpected moments of delight, wordless truths & finding yourself where you are;
for bravery, truth, trust, surrender;
for wisdom, inspiration, compassion, peace, beauty & wonder;
for love – in all its forms;
for you;
and for so much more.

i am thankful.