Sketch #1: Denise Levertov-Aware

by Serena Tome

“When I opened the door
I found the vine leaves
speaking among themselves in abundant
                        Were they speaking of unconquered
                        land they wanted to possess? Whether
                        in flesh form or granulated rock, could
                        these militant strategists desire to
                        take over the remaining breaths on hold for you?
                        Their shadows hustle behind folic skirts like
                        Viet Cons awaiting your arrest—

“I like the sounds of such private voices. Next time
I’ll move like cautious sunlight, open the door by
fractions, eavesdrop peacefully.”

When impeding upon the sacred
remember to take off your shoes
bow your eyelids
and speak in the most widely respected
language on Earth—silence

Serena Tome launched an international reading series for African children to connect, learn, and participate in literary activity with students from around the world via video conferencing. She has literary work published and/or forthcoming in, Ann Arbor Review, Breadcrumb Scabs, Word Riot, Calliope Nerve, Counterexample Poetics, The Stray Branch, and other publications. Her first chapbook is forthcoming with Differentia Press. You can find out more about Serena at

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