Poems by Elizabeth Schultz

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Containing Multitudes

by Elizabeth Schultz

From Canary Winter 2010-11

Elizabeth lives on the limestone ridge in northeast Kansas called Mt. Oread, rising between the Wakarusa watershed to the south and the Kansas River and its floodplain to the north.

In the remote heart of Africa,
the zebras and wildebeests go on
flowing over the Serengeti,
following ancient tribal orders.
We stand watching in a jeep,
connected and cocooned by
the throbbing earth and the dust.

The plains, too, were once flooded
with waves of bison, their woolly
humps rushing and heaving forward.
Some men stood by and painted,
but others shot and shot until bison
bones littered the earth, and
the Pilgrim Bard made a lonely
business of carting them off to barter.

Our herds now stream through
train stations, into celebrations,
pulsating on the streets, everyone
distinguished by bag, purse, package.
Desperate enough, our herds become
mobs moving mountains, crushing
our own children. We shove each
other through turnstiles, into rivers.

On occasion, even now,
on the outskirts of a town, birds
swarm, thousands of scissors
clipping silhouettes from the late
winter sunset, settling in the cedars.
The clatter encompassing us is
the cadence of heaven, according
to a Chinese friend. On such sound
waves do we rise and fall,
swelling and diminishing.

The Luscious Dead

by Elizabeth Schultz

From Canary Fall 2010

The bees' whining signified
alarm, fire or some great hurt,
stirring the forest's shadows.

We heard them before we saw
the crumpled oak, bleeding dark
honey, and the bees hovering.

In the late afternoon's light,
their wings whirred, iridescent
and desperate. Mesmerized,

we witnessed their frenzy above
the ooze, the honeycomb settlement
spilling perfect hexagonals of home.

We felt their grieving, all that sweetness
seeping over the tree's bark, into the earth,
always overflowing with the luscious dead.

Under the Magnifying Glass

by Elizabeth Schultz

From Canary Winter 2015-16

Green has long been gone.
The grass is crisped. Leaves
have curled and vanished
into crunch. But this strange
heat could call crocuses up
into flames of purple and gold.

Focused over the town,
the burning lens brings us
outside to revel in shirt
sleeves. The cat’s ears
are singed, and the smell
of smoke permeates our hair.
We tread on cinders.
The sky remains profound.

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