Elizabeth Elliott

Elizabeth Elliott is a storyteller. Writing is the one time she knows she can hear herself within the chaos of the world. These poems reflect on the disruption and reality of COVID-19. As a queer woman of color, she hopes these poems connect with others.

Alarm

The question
Ringing in my ears
Where is that sound coming from?
The siren blurring in my mind.
 
I’ve missed alarms.
 
Slept through them
Unaware and incorporating
Them into my dreams
Only until my head ached
From the sound
Awakening me out of danger.
 
Merging two worlds
Half-awake and half-asleep
Maybe this is why
I slept through my first alarm
For the first day of kindergarten
Arriving late, unable to break the mirage.
 
Older and more used to the
Rhythmic beatings.
The sound shattering one world
For me to enter another.
No longer evading reality.
My body embracing comings and goings
Traveling between states of mind.
 
The moment time stopped.
I existed only on autopilot
Unable to process the beeps
In my ears. Instead, I was caught up.
The beating of my chest,
Quickened unable to slow down.
I was left wondering
how silence could be so loud.
 
COVID-19 leaving me to question
Where is that sound coming from?
The mirage was the reality
I am awakening for the first time
Still holding the ringing in my ears
While the alarm has been turned off.
Only now processing the ghost of change.
 
I’ve missed alarms.
 
Slept through them
Until they have turned off
Freed to dream and yet lost time.
 
Hoped that in waiting
Pressing a snooze
Things would go back to normal
Forgetting you cannot turn back the clock
You only lose time heading back to sleep
Having to hurry faster
Once you wake.
 
I’ve missed alarms.

1024 x 798

Love has arrived—from afar—
Eyelids fluttered slowly open
To the lag in the Zoom call
The lips smile taking a while
 
The Hand forgetting reaches out
To the white glow of the untouchable
It questions time—the past now seems
Too late—a missed anecdote to pain
 
Six feet apart is wanting to take her hand
The nerves stiffen at the thought
Of touch—the burn of alcohol
Much too soon afterwards—If—
 
The Skin could feel the warmth of her
Though our gloves—precautions—
Escaping the poison of unquarantined—
Possibilities—A fleeting thought unobtained
 
Love has arrived—a tiny smile held
Under covered lips. Love, I am just
Waiting, admiring from afar what 1024 by 798
Pixels fail to materialize—your beauty.

Succulent

Rooted in nothing,
but belonging on a shelf.
You notice the curvatures
and branching of the green leaves
Like an outstretched hand yearning for more.
Pink pops and light orange hides
at the end of the fingertips.
 
The changing hues and shades,
a reminder of life.
A growing body needing water
to extend their arms and legs
To outgrow the small pot.
Growing they move from the shelf
Out to your desk. It is putting down roots
Making you clear space on your desk.
 
You’ve been sitting detached at the desk,
all but wilting away. This is not your normal,
But has become your reality, staying inside
Ruminating where your past, present, and future lie.
How once budding leaves turned bright green then
To amber, orange, red, and brown.
You focus your energy on the plant
Which has grown from your care.
 
The plant reminds you roots are possible.
It is the first time you’ve noticed the growth
The expansion of the once hand-sized plant.
It is no longer miniature, as you sit in front of it
Now day after day—inside.
The plant you got for décor
Now a reminder that you are alive.