Emily Toder



It’s impossible to make a promise to yourself

it’s impossible to look at yourself

if you know this

in the old and new churches and even in

the Christian Science Reading Rooms I always thought got me

I can take my pulse and it’s strong


The lane with the hedges – the lamb

the tremor of Paddington, the terrifying vista, the fog,

the dogs set free on the Downs

not nearly as much as my electric companion who had a soul


So my bunk robust promise I pledge now again

in a stuffed vacuum

in a void full of star shit

in a nest of dust to get

regurgitated into the sleeping eggs

in the silk spider dust of a knot of bugs


That’s where I pledge my swear, darling man,

in the putrid gone future

in the lost future I felt

where once I stood in a roofless market,

scanning, scared, the red peppers



Emily Toder is the author of Science (Coconut Books, 2012) and the chapbooks No Land (Brave Men Press, forthcoming 2014), Brushes With (Tarpaulin Sky, 2010), and I Hear a Boat (Duets, 2010). Her next collection, Beachy Head, is due out from Coconut in 2014. A graduate of the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she also holds degrees in Literary Translation and Library Science. She lives in Brooklyn.