SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Remember: A Concerto Turned Anthem

                    for Anya and Anne


When you’re on the run

because nobody’s shown

in a handful of Sundays

and churches come and gone,

you sweat and listen with

earbuds blooming the whole

orchestra, waiting for the

salvation of what feels

like the godforsaken piano.

But wait, isn’t this

a piano concerto you’ve put

on for just this occasion?

Your feet meet pavement

and push off from one thought

to the next anonymous wave

and deeper into knowing

that August is dying and

all you smell is the sea

and all you taste are tears.

You remember that now

another poet-friend, sick too

long, has died too soon and

will not write again about a God

whose many names she called.

And you remember still more:

the pastor-friend whose grief

will go beyond every instrument,

every song for her son who

a year now is gone.

O Brahms or Bono,

Nina or Aretha,

give us some sound

from the pain suffered

down to the finest point,

where then we are asked,

who are you?

I run and remember

that autumn will arrive

and October will remind me

of when my grandmother died,

of all her lost words and letters,

and how inside my house

back then I played on repeat

an acoustic version of Losing My Religion,

or maybe I was listening for

the trumpet’s blaring,

Love Rescue Me.

This season, I’ll go out to run

that memory down and see another

maple flame out to ash, another

bag of leaves taken to the road,

and all the recyclables headed

for Redemption. Even then,

especially then, may I

remember, remember,

what she wrote to me

on a scrap of paper before

she died: being born again is

likened to the working of the wind.

Summar West’s poems have been published in a variety of places, including 491, Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Ellipsis, New South, Prairie Schooner, Still, and Tar River Poetry. Born and raised in east Tennessee, she currently lives in coastal Connecticut with her partner and their two daughters. 


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