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Notes Holding Us Tight to the World

live in the pause between inhale and exhale,
between fronds of an asparagus-fern
with its one red berry.

A single muscle cell of the heart beats alone,
little solitary god in a laboratory dish
waiting for another of its kind 

to thump in synchrony until the small rooms
pulsate a flame continuous and steady:
a star in the blue-black sky.

In deep sleep, the heart flips an extra beat
into the cosmos, then another and another,
beginning an endless journey of lives,

chanting overlapped notes, their feet drumming
an old path above the river’s low hymn
footprint into footprint, in perfect time.  


Roselyn Elliott is the author of four poetry chapbooks: The Separation of Kin ( Blueline-SUNY Potsdam 2006 ), At the Center (Finishing Line Press 2008), Animals Usher Us to Grace (Finishing Line Press 2011), and Ghost of the Eye (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press). A Pushcart nominee, her essays and poems have appeared in The Cumberland River Review, diode, Streetlight Magazine, The Florida Review, New Letters, Blueline, ABRAXAS, and other publications.  She has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, Piedmont Virginia Community College, The Visual Art Center of Richmond, and WriterHouse in Charlottesville, Virginia.   She resides in Richmond, Virginia.