Writing on the Walls at Night
My daughter stands up quickly in the bed and scribbles something on the ceiling with a black marker. Wow, she grew so tall, stretching to reach the ceiling. Long legs, long arms. I squint in the dark to read, but her writing is unintelligible. When she's done, she lies back quickly next to me, fast asleep.
The black plume of smoke seeps out from the wall. It looks like ink floating toward me through the water. When it gets close, it turns into a woman's face. My mother.
What is it with mothers and daughters up at 2 a.m.? We're on a rocky beach, looking out at the murky sea. My mother walks in front of me, wind snapping her skirt. She tells me something, pointing at the green waves. I see her lips moving, but the boom of the surf covers her voice.
In the girls' dorm room, Florina wrote my poems in black marker on the four closet doors. Unintelligible scribbles, finger-smudged, staining the laminated surface. Love poems for lonely girls away from home.
It's all about not understanding the scribbles, the ink, the words. About being in the water, ears plugged. Eyes wide open, but not seeing. Then the archer gets up and comes to the wall. She points her arrow at me. I can see its tip against the bow, writing something in the air: This is it. I jump from the bed when she lets it go.
is a Romanian-born poet who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems and translations have appeared in Field, New Letters
, 5 a.m.
, Word Riot
, Apple Valley Review
, among others. A four-time Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she is the author of Angels & Beasts
, Canada, 2012), A Dirt Road Hangs From the Sky
(8th House Publishing
, Canada, 2013), To Part Is to Die a Little
(Cervena Barva Press
, 2015) and Nothing Important Happened Today
, forthcoming). Serea co-hosts The Williams Readings poetry series in Rutherford, NJ. She is the founding editor of National Translation Month