Chani Zwibel (Western Voices 2022)

Bio: Chani Zwibel (she/her/hers) is originally from Elizabeth, a small town in rural Western Pennsylvania. She now lives and writes just outside of Atlanta, in Smyrna, Georgia. She graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2011 and is currently pursuing an MLIS at Valdosta State University. She is the author of Cave Dreams to Star Portals, Star Portals to Cash Registers, and Cash Registers to Cave Dreams. She has been published in numerous publications online and in print. Connect at chanizwibel on Instagram and/or Chani Zwibel on Facebook.

 

SAVED

Can anything fallen be saved? The twigs bound in the empty circle of the birds’ nest slowly slipped the weaving of the once-so-careful beak and retreated to the forest floor, to the company of moss. The downy pods of the dandelion floated free a moment and then nestled into warm, dark bed of earth to wait for a call to wake them from slumber. For what is the end if not the beginning? Can anything fallen down be saved? The hollow bowl of the oak stump becomes a cauldron of rainwater, a mirror reflecting the crowns of trees born of the acorns it cast as sacrifices to the ground, its fearless orphans now the heirs of sky. What gathers in this place are all the keys in the kingdom of things forgotten: a marble rolled from a packrat’s hoard, a bone-white button popped from a picnicking lover’s blouse, a broken silver chain dropped by a crow. Can anything fallen down ever be saved?

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STARS, FLOWERS, OURS

How is it that we know the stars? We see them in the veil of night and count them treasures. What lights the sky we always praise. The ancient tongues recall our far-off home. Such as these burning palaces are now, we once were. Fear and awe lie next to each other inside the cave where the oldest handprints smudge the walls. Running horses flicker film-like in the torchlight. The iron in our blood sings to the stars. The sunflower’s round face gazes out with love upon its namesake. The lilacs bloom and their scent carries our memory like bees’ fuzzy legs carry clumps of pollen. From one ephemeral summer day to another, and then the drawing down of dusk. But always we know the stars.

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A QUIET SPELL

Lavender and rosemary jostle their fragrant arms. Bumblebees dip and bob over their blossoms. A gecko, a miniature dragon, shows his orange frill, a proud display in sunshine. Bits of quartz crystal glint and glimmer. Dragonflies dart past, buzzing bits of iridescence. A single spider spins a careful web. Magic is happening here, moments from the front steps. Hyacinth, crocus, and daffodils push toward the light, break free of earth, and shout a rainbow in the grass.

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