The abstract takes hold in jutting rocks, pillars, and cliffs.
The universe distills to black, volcanic earth.
In the distance sand hills rise and fall
like the curves of a body at rest.
The hushed land barely breathes.
I press my face to the glass
Against blue sea and sky.
Down below a small island floats
a lima bean in turquoise waters.
It seems a breath, a finger’s touch
Not miles of ocean away.
Between me and the world lies An island,
white and clean,
Like an elusive dream.
Jan Zlotnik Schmidt is a SUNY Distinguished Professor of English at SUNY New Paltz where she teaches composition, creative writing, American and Women’s Literature, creative nonfiction, memoir, and Holocaust literature courses. Her work has been published in many journals including The Cream City Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Home Planet News, Phoebe,Black Buzzard Review, The Chiron Review, and Wind. Her work also has been nominated for the Pushcart Press Prize Series. She has had had two volumes of poetry published by the Edwin Mellen Press (We Speak in Tongues, 1991; She had this memory, 2000). Recently a chapbook, The Earth Was Still, was published by Finishing Line Press. In addition to her poetry publications, she has edited two anthologies of women’s memoirs (Women/Writing/Teaching [SUNY Press 1998] and, with Dr. Phyllis R. Freeman, Wise Women: Reflections of Teachers at Mid-Life (Routledge 2000]). Her literature for composition anthology, Legacies: Fiction Poetry Drama Nonfiction, co-edited with Dr. Carley Bogarad (deceased) and Dr. Lynne Crockett, is now in its fifth edition.