Wednesday Nov 29

Rolland-Poetry Rebecca Givens Rolland’s first book of poems, The Wreck of Birds, won the 2011 May Sarton New Hampshire first book prize and was published by Bauhan Publishing. She won the 2011 Dana Award in Short Fiction and have work recently published in the Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, and American Letters and Commentary.

Dream of Jaundice


Languishing under light boxes, having
forgotten to search for sun. Indifferent, icily
pale. Doll-bed corrals her, boxes her in
(barreled blue glow). Face hardly
visible, wire-crossed. Impeccable machines,
doctor-recommended. A great improvement
cheeks not so yellow—tint of lights? Hours
of unmoving shade. Monitor stuttering,
breath badly paced. Flip the switch,
listen: she’ll be talking madly to herself:
feed something, water plants, be of use. Having
not felt helpful in the past. Water-caved
eyelids, wheat cloths (survival’s burden). Within
starred walls, I beg her: wrestle calm, heal
yourself. Lights illuminate—a passel rush in
for the pulse—deceleration—to fall
off, there are many means. I turn, hearing
edible music. Devices whirring deep
in meeting rooms. Chattering lips, gauze-
inflected orders. Not realizing she needed
to take care. Thinking medicine would help her
mature. Men in hard hats, tiny white
glasses. Carousel glare, prismatic, across
her eyes. I turn, hearing symphonic
barges—arms thrash out, she’s elaborate,
sanitized—elbows, cheeks torque to
floor. Marrow, bruises. Since pain wasn't
something to stop her. Overtook her in
fetal form. Weapons in her unwoke, attained
descendants. Unavoidable eyes. Final match
unstruck—she’s lost, can’t beckon. Beyond
common reaches. What I’d carry. One, another
hospital. Transfer of anger. Of ordinance.
A reckless wake. A weightless form of love. 


I wish I could say I got through to her. Communicated
when the panel of interventions failed, when
beeping became singular,

maple in half-hearted
wind. Yet beeping flared, persistent—nothing
to undermine it. Sparrowing sound.

Nothing offered but a present body. Hardly
anything with which to latch on.


How long had she forgotten? The cast
of her face icily green. Curtains
undrawn, silos
missing—facts no one
would be able to ignore. Light bulb under weight
of bleared rain—
rain in gutters, two-
every space
pale enough to see. A thrush
too—if a thrush could be singing—
within reason. If
singsong was enough
of a sign. None of the panic,
all of the laughter. Irruption of hostage
machines. Has
                                      anyone rebelled?
been requested? At times
I watch, at times
I wing through air—