Rachel Lehrman’s poetry in a previous issue of The Drunken Boat

And a feature of Nomadic Collaborations


Contributor Notes

Rachel Lehrman

Rachel Lehrman

One Step Becomes a Lifetime



what holds me back from living

the inside of my head is my head




we walk from the station—

houses, mopeds, cars with rolled-down windows



birds cross each other

sending shadows—


my hands tremble

the back of a neck       lower back        thigh       calves 

the possibility of someone coming at any angle


people in cars, sweating in houses:

            love     to love    to—




to not make any sound

to not take that first step, or let this accidental brushing mean something

just from breathing with you




this is       this is      


    (the screen goes blank)


once spoken, the words cannot be unsaid—  


    (the glass turns white:  condensation) 

    (the temperature rises)


if sitting here means forgetting  

if we are not meant to feel whole


    (blackout:  reboot)


what else then? 


    (a low hum) 


before blackness, before...


(subtle vibrations)


a rush of breath   


(the image blinks...

                              ...to life)








it is only when I cling to

this empty room—      my vertigo

talking to my memory

heavy     with the things

      I can’t

                     give away




you exhale down the length of the spine

       deep breath

the pelvic floor contracts

      deep breath

eyes closed to push back the night


    —serpent fire—

anything to hold onto








night that closes up arteries

night that fogs the brain

this blindness  —night—   my blessing

is mine only


child’s silhouette on the balcony

scoliotic curve of the back


the web on the railing

a kind of heaviness or gentleness

in the shadow invisible


for something

that couldn’t get away