“A New Song” by Rebecca Hart Olander

Covering a canvas with thick paint, the way it feels in the body is a song.

And the knit and purl of yarn into a garment is a melody. Hands on birch

bark, the rough curl of it coming off in pinky brown strips, a lyric loved

since before birth, waiting voices chorusing through stretched skin.


Rapt, we listen over and over to tunes that blur the lines between what is

our life and what is another life. It’s how we make code to say I won’t forget

about you, or your pain is my pain, or don’t worry, something extraordinary

will happen to you in some tomorrow you have yet to let yourself imagine.


And the rain is music, the rushing stream, the old man asleep and snoring

on the train. Don’t you know there’s always a soundtrack? If we stopped

saying we weren’t musicians and started opening ourselves to the unsung,

what would those bells sound like, rung together like that, and unafraid?

Rebecca Hart Olander holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has appeared recently in Ilanot Review, Mom Egg Review, Plath Poetry Project, Radar Poetry, Virga Magazine, and Yemassee Journal, among others, and her critical work has been published in Rain Taxi Review of Books, Solstice Literary Magazine, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Collaborative work made with Elizabeth Paul is forthcoming in Duende and They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence Press). She was the winner of the Women’s National Book Association poetry contest and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Rebecca lives in Western Massachusetts where she teaches writing at Westfield State University and is the editor/director of Perugia Press. You can find her at rebeccahartolander.com.

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