What the Snow Says
A writer, actress, and singer since her youth, Elya Braden took a long detour from her creative endeavors to pursue an eighteen-year career as a corporate lawyer and entrepreneur, eventually launching a networking group for experienced female lawyers. After fifteen years in Seattle, she now enjoys pursuing her creativity in the Southern California sunshine. In her free time, she volunteers with Free Arts for Abused Children and Insight Seminars, a personal development program.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Dogwood, Echoes Poetry Journal, Euphony, and Scratch Anthology (Volume 3). She's attended numerous workshops including Advanced Creative Nonfiction, Intermediate Poetry, and The Multi-Tasking Muse (a poetry writing workshop), all through UCLA Extension, as well as Method Writing with Jack Grapes. She has studied with Ellen Bass, Michelle Bitting, Marie Howe, Richard Jones, Dorianne Laux, Suzanne Lummis, and Joseph Millar.
The snow says, "You think that death is cold, cold
as the metal stirrups in the half-dark hospital room
where the intern, looking at your ultrasound,
announced, 'spontaneous abortion.'
But she was warm inside your body for those ten days
when your cravings ceased, your skin's glow dimmed,
your breasts slept quiet in your C cups.
In your dream, you are curled inside your green
VW bug after the crash, burrowed into my bosom,
cozy as a fetus pulsing to its mother's heartbeat,
sipping her blood, transmuting her air.
In your dream, I am dry as sand, dry as your eyes
after the intern said, 'Yup, looks like the fetus stopped
growing at ten and a half weeks, just stayed put for ten more days.'
In your dream, you decide to hike to the town below,
then remember your purse. You return to your car.
I have been busy cleaning up your mess, sealing the doors.
'You'll need to see your obstetrician for a D & C.
Too much tissue in there to let it bleed out.' The intern
unpeeled his gloves into the toxic waste bin and left.
In your dream, you angle your body like a speculum,
apply the force of a gynecologist examining a reluctant teen
to wedge open the door, snake your right arm in.
In your dream, reaching for your purse, your knuckles
catch in tangled hair, thud into bone brittle head,
you recoil, your eyes fling open and see—yourself—
forehead gashed, body lurched forward, still.
After the D & C, all you'll remember is cold
and the echoing emptiness of her absence. You'll know
it was mid-May that she left you, but I will rime
your memory of that day with my white hunger.
You'd never seen yourself dead in a dream before,
but I am always with you now, ready to gather you, gather you back."