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  • Writer's pictureKayleigh Willis

'Only Emily' by Donald Sellitti



There's a certain Slant of light,

Winter Afternoons –

That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes –

- Emily Dickenson

Emily got it right about

the slanting winter light

when the sun rolls

like a millstone

through the sky

to crush our fragile souls

as flat as shadow.

More vicious than just

darkness the way it’s sliced

by leafless saplings

into orange shards and

blackened bars across

the windows to trap us

in airless rooms

whose only sound’s

the murmuring of plainsong

in the wind.

Only Emily could

say it with the spareness

of that landscape; only Emily,

her face a flattened disk of Aten

staring sun to sun beyond

the glass, casting shadows

of her own into the

endless afternoon.



All Rights. Donald Sellitti.


Donald Sellitti is retired after a thirty-eight year career in research and teaching at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. He has published extensively in medical journals, and has recently had poems published in Autumn Sky, Snakeskin, Better than Starbucks, and others. A recent poem in Rat's Ass Review has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.




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