Rumpus Original Poetry: Four Poems by Elizabeth Schmuhl






I feel the storm coming so I dress for the occasion: a black slip
trimmed with lace. The first time in so long I’ve felt luxurious.

I light candles and slow dance, sway my hips.
The thunder a pulse thicker than mine, stronger.
I let it carry me, ride its echo.

I am following the pleasure of the storm until I’m inside of it.
The lightning entering my veins, running, diffusing. It’s thrilling
how turned on I’ve become.

Who was it that told me not to be greedy? Who said
some sweetness is too deep?

I am the storm in my front porch and I am moving,
a threat to this home and everything in it.



I cut my heart open. It’s certain:
the meat of a halved dove still beating and bloody.
I’ve dreamt about her before.

In the dream she didn’t look this delicious.

There’s plenty to eat on this farm and yet
there’s only me. Some things spoil.

I’ll leave her out as an offering.
And then I’ll watch, and wait.



I am lying in the apple orchard again
waiting to turn invisible. I’ve been here for hours.

To be the clouds crawling across the blue sky
or the mice running through damp tunnels.

Here my body is heavy with salt.

I try to leave but it’s impossible. My flesh reddening
my freckles mapping where I begin
where I’ll end.



My blood? I’ve fed it to the turtles, to the berries,
to anything hungry and wanting. All you had to do
was ask.

I always had what you wanted, didn’t I?


Original artwork provided courtesy of Elizabeth Schmuhl.

Elizabeth Schmuhl is a multidisciplinary artist and the author of Presto Agitato (Dancing Girl Press & Zoo Cake Press, 2015) and Premonitions (Wayne State University Press, forthcoming 2018). She has taught writing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and currently works at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. She divides her time between DC, NYC, and her centennial fruit farm in Michigan. Visit her website, More from this author →