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Liana Roux

Meditation for a Chance Encounter During Isolation

Meet yourself from the dream

where you were scrambling, picking things up,

or were you scrolling the infinite white boxes of a spreadsheet?

Forget what you were looking for.

Fry an egg.

Remember to remember to schedule deep breaths

at staggered intervals throughout the day.

You may sense a tingling or a vibration

in the finger you cut in the kitchen weeks ago.

Change the bandage.

Rake the leaves from the garden. Mark the hollyhocks’ yellow green,

the dusty sage, the oregano back after all.

Throw a ball for the dog. Fasten her leash for today’s long walk.

Meet a friend by chance on the way.

Keep a careful distance. Keep the dog from leaping joyous up the steps.

Stare like a child at the new baby,

at your friend’s new body, everyone blinking in the sun.

Forget what to say.

Weave a path around strangers on the way back,

wonder if you should have held your breath.

Remember what you forgot, the script for the chance encounter.

Meet yourself as she unlocks the door.


When birds disappeared

in flocks and Vs

the ancients said they sank into the sea

and became fish,

each silvery feather a scale,

rippling, caught in light.

Why not that instead of this,

no less mysterious:

the way I turn home in winter

and watch the gray river

unfreeze and glitter

beneath the wing of the plane,

the way a captive bird

grows wild and restless

and beats against her cage

once a year

as her body awakens suddenly

skewered with want,

a filament that turns

with the dark magnet of the earth.


Liana Roux has an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Her work appears in The Experiment Will Not Be Bound anthology (Unbound Edition Press, 2022), The Rupture, The Queer South anthology (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014), and elsewhere. She lives in Durham, NC with her wife and son.


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