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Marianne Szlyk

Marianne Szlyk’s poems have appeared in of/with, bird’s thumb, Mad Swirl, Solidago, One-Sentence Poems, Bourgeon, Mike Maggio’s COVID-19 series, Verse Virtual, Music of the Aztecs, and Resurrection of a Sunflower, an anthology of work responding to Vincent Van Gogh’s art. Her new book, Poetry en Plein Air, is available from Pony One Dog Press and Amazon. She has also revived her blog-zine The Song Is… as a summer-only publication for poems and prose inspired by music, especially jazz: .

Leaving the City Made of Fog

After Hung-Ju Kan, Density Vs. Emptiness 20-3 (triptych), 2020

In quarantine, the artist walks past spring flowers,
pink dogwoods that could be starched silk.
The slight wind pushes cherry blossoms
to the ground where footsteps crush them.

The blue haze smells of alcohol wipes, scent
of this hospital city. Sirens’ sounds
drown out the thin songs
of returning birds perched in trees.

Mist hangs down to hide houses.
He has seen too much in winter
when he walked miles to the studio,
stretched canvas, used oils

to capture the city of fog
and the girl who smelled of mocha
and turpentine. Twice they danced
at a club, pressed together without masks.

At last sun and sky break through.
Next week he is leaving the city of fog.
Next week he is flying home.
Masked and gloved,

he will ride the empty subway,
feeling the streets above him disappear,
longing for the streets back home
crowded with people who brush past him.

He has already forgotten the girl’s name.

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