It’s funny how we remember things we thought safely forgotten, then share them with strangers. The other day, I told a passer-by my strongest emotion was shame. I’m ashamed to admit it. Hats off to whomever said it first: writing poetry is like washing one’s dirty laundry in public. I’m up to my elbows in suds, trying to catch the tail of an S. It wiggles away, hides under slippery soap, its slick, sinuous body coiled like a spring. Can’t say I have much more luck with the H. It’s a ladder with only one rung, leading to nowhere special. Hell in a handbasket. Heart in the doldrums. Headache with a dash of hypochondria. Even the A, for all its alpine scaling potential, is sure to disappoint. Halfway up to the apex, the acme, the apogee, I’m stuck on a ledge, waiting to be rescued. Which begs the question, what’s the point of reaching a summit if it’s all downhill from there? The nightmarish M masks the mournful sounds I make in my sleep, when the lever of some fast-moving machine slips from my grip. There’s a bottomless pit to fall endlessly into & hungry maws raising their teeth to the light. Then there’s the E, that most frequently used vowel in English. Edgy, electric, self-effacing. Rarely noticed at the end of a word or a life. Too often it has to die in order to amaze someone. Without the E, shame is a sham. Serpentine. Like that unctuous voice Eve heard in Eden, enticing her to take the first bite.
-- Originally from Chisinau, Moldova, Romana Iorga lives in Switzerland. She is the author of two poetry collections in Romanian. Her work in English has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals, including New England Review, Gulf Coast, Salamander, as well as on her poetry blog at clayandbranches.com.