ENGL 425: Advanced Creative Writing

Emma Riehl
ENGL 425 Final Portfolio
Dr. Laurie MacDiarmid
Spring 2014

In Light of It

We sat in a cafe and she laughed and asked why I
clung desperately to the window pane and with my
cheek still on the glass I knew it was my reaction to
constraint but I found my train of thought and said that
it was cool and I was quite


I refrained from telling her I felt walled in and I really
could use an outlet like last night
when I pressed against the refrigerator
my arms strained on the cool door
driven by a capacity for pain
or a rush of something in my brain, I thought
I had been shot in the chest
all the blood ran to the swollen veins in my fists
but I couldn’t find the bullet.

I didn’t need to keep digging for it just then
so I lifted my face from the icy, lit glass
picked up my tea
and laughed.


Jasmine Noir

across the passage
he could see into the bathroom
her delicate hand lay motionless
white china on the pale lilac rug
he fingered the edge of the
open bottle, collecting pill dust and
sucking it off
bright blue veins softened
by a veil of porcelain flesh
caught his eye and he became
tongue heavy, thick lashes obscuring
his vision but–
lovely! oh
she’s lovelier now
with the cool blowing in, yes
it chills the scene, doesn’t it
and his bones a bit
her bones so dainty at the wrist
fingernails precisely polished
a glossy ballet pink
that hand, that slender
how he held it, kissed it
hours before and they grew hot
it got hot
heated quickly, his clothes got wet
candles burned low, low
their wicks dead now
they always die, damn it
faint traces of her on the sheets
like before just hours before
the bulgari jasmine noir
the one in the little glass bottle
flowers etched on the bottom, yes
it was light–the fragrance
light in his dark room but
the bathroom light held her
beautiful hand
in the faint light
ballet pink
and pale ice blue
veins on a lilac rug

Tide Lines

you said i am water
as i sat across from you at the
dark wood table

my eyes set in another place
i didn’t ask why you said it or
if you even bought it

i knew right then it was true
there’s a sea beneath my skin,
a raging current in my veins


it explains why i long to shed my body
and rejoin the rain, why i watch in awe
as my tears mingle with
drops from the shower

as i lie and take cover
from the world a while,
feeling a cold lurch as i
disappear down the drain

a piece of me i hope to reunite with

and you see, i speak with the moon
and she pushes me,
pulls me to move through your fingers
and you can linger on the strand,

tracing my lines cut in the sand but
for the time being i’m swirling in the deep
the waves swell in me
and the tide always recedes

What’s the Difference?

quantifying unquantifiable mysteries never made
sense to me the men of science and numbers
hunched over desks til night time studying
stars but not seeing them really not bathing
sensually in the light of them but I don’t handle

mystery well either I set my mind on unsolvable
mysteries of tomorrow I’ve grown tired of my
goddamn excuses why I can’t live in the present
moment so when the end of the world comes
(which is just a general fear of death– imagining

an apocalypse the ultimate form of living
in the future) I hope I go when I’m hiking in the rain
and feel the droplets collect on my warm shoulders
then drip down every single strand of my hair my
feet slipping gently on the rocks a little God I want

to go in the few seconds I’ve chosen to let go in a
surrender to ecstasy or the delicate care of a new
tattoo a tender beautiful wound on my young body
because why solve mysteries we can’t or aren’t
meant to solve why are we meant or fated to

do anything why cling to a burning planet circling
a fiery star why not open our arms to become a
part of it more than we already are why not
welcome the collective light embrace the vast
impenetrable darkness (what’s the difference?)

and I’ll gladly go because nothing’s the end of
the world just the end of a species of brief life
I’ll lie quietly breathe faintly in the night and when
it comes to the afterlife it’s not my business
who is who isn’t and who was ever “right”