Evalyn Lee is a former CBS News producer currently living in London with her husband and two children. Over the years, she has produced television segments for 60 Minutes in New York and then for the BBC in London. Her broadcast work has received an Emmy and numerous Writers Guild Awards and she is currently at work on her first novel.
Where is America?
I board the train in New London;
the conductor takes my ticket, puts it upright
facing forward, he’s got a system
he’s not telling me about.
We pass marsh grass, boats,
lagoons, telephone poles,
osprey nests, clouds, inlets,
It is dark in the shadows of the woods.
Why do we put so many things into storage?
All the pools, planks, tanks, sheds, buses,
factory windows everything waits
More dark woods, then dashes—
white egrets—against black water.
American flags framed
by the oval of my train window
traffic lights change, masts become chimneys,
everyone who can work is working,
how do you measure your life?
In goods, God, golf scores?
Trailer homes, drains, and diggers
become flat concrete roofs,
Walgreens, Taco Bells, oil tanks,
satellite dishes, Goodyear tires, Home Depots,
I try to measure America with love
watch my step disembarking.
Dance Demon Girls Dance
Unleash your eyes, dance your jaw into
that fist, slice that knife into your belly,
lift up your lying necks, snap them at the bone,
put them in a bouquet, a galaxy of whirling
bleeding heads, the revelation of love,
all you ugly, useless, lying, stupid, righteous
cunts, dance, you baby ones, you old ones,
breasts slapping, nipples tapping, wombs
blackening, push back your burning hair,
obey, unfurl blue arms green bellies
azure legs learning the steps to love,
learning how quietly your father, your brother,
your husband, lover, friend will shut the door
after he kills you, you demon girl, an empty face,
who can kill the whole world with your dance.
After Speaking to My Mother
I will walk the dog & swallow her love &
keep on keeping on, the way she taught me.
I erase myself. The cowslip, ferns, ivy,
the single crow, a black comma in a tree
will be given conversational priority, tomorrow.
Our sentences will flow over plants and birds,
tidal debris, sticks & bits of plastic,
including the headless doll, damp, abandoned,
its cotton belly, a shredding worm, pulled out
by a yellow-breasted sparrow who will also be given agency
to have its needs put into words. No talk
about her fear of going blind or Paul’s dying.
I stop to pick up dog shit, by a stump, my heart
a thorny bramble, waiting for fruit.