The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Open the Fist by Elya Braden

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Open the Fist by Elya Braden, released by Finishing Line Press in 2020. 

Yom Kippur

Fall tracks footprints
               through rooms too small and numbered,
               floors shouting up naked stairs or down.

We choose our substitutions:
               the faces we hold between our hands
               and kiss with eyes made wide.

The trees shed leaves like green tears.
               Ragged footsteps hurried on the way
               to some bright elevation,

another path to love or to the illusion
               of a mountaintop where breath is deeper,
               hope blooms in a purple crocus.

Everyone’s cold. Wine leaks
               from a cracked glass. Fasting promises
               a God who has abandoned me. 

I’ll bow through days of awe.
               The pendulum swings. I pray
               that someone, somewhere can hear.

Elya Braden is the author of Open The Fist, a chapbook released in 2020, and The Sight of Invisible Longing, a chapbook to be published in 2023, both by Finishing Line Press. She is a writer and mixed-media artist living in Ventura County, CA, and is Assistant Editor of Gyroscope Review. Her work has been published in Calyx, Prometheus Dreaming, Rattle Poets Respond, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, The Coachella Review and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and have received several Best of the Net nominations.


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