1. big drum rolls around behind your eyes
  2. even before robin #1 wakes up & hysterically greets sun
  3. rest between yips of anxious dog 3 streets over
  4. secret you kept so well you don’t know if you made it up
  5. quieter & quieter as death gets nearer & nearer to old ears
  6. underwater, considering whether to surface & breathe again
  7. wind blows nothing around on the parched plaza
  8. dark lack of engines when power goes out
  9. exhausted exultation of 5 am zazen on day 3 of sesshin
  10. fresh-oiled stories untold by someone dead’s unsold chiffonier
  11. poison, stinging things you do not say during argument
  12. after crashing steel, breaking glass; before screams, snapping bone
  13. the shadow beside you takes your hand while you walk in the dark
  14. turning your head left to right, up & down, after vertigo passes
  15. alone in the house, no one sings or scrubs dirt off potatoes
  16. old dog dies. only a knock or doorbell signals a visitor. you walk alone.
  17. you talk fast because you don’t remember what’s in your pocket


  1. the sound of a spider web breaking as you walk into it
  2. a banana being peeled
  3. a page being turned in a printed book
  4. when the water stops dripping
  5. a warm gust detaches the tannin-heavy leaf
  6. how the house sounds when no one else is home
  7. the pause before you remember the word you want to say next
  8. your heart calms as fear passes
  9. empty rooms you walk through after you get rid of your dad’s stuff
  10. still morning after a storm took out the power last night
  11. ash falls from a disregarded cigarette
  12. pen moving on paper when you write your name
  13. cat’s muscles vibrate as she stretches in her sleep
  14. the flame closing as you shut the burner on the gas stove
  15. skin cells pop as you face the sun with your naked face
  16. a meteor misses the sleeping earth
  17. conversation ceases as the room notices the blood
  18. before another human you can’t see laughs somewhere up the river; and then after
  19. all your neighbors are out of town for the holidays
  20. after it snows and you’re outdoors, a knit cap and hood covering your ears

* From Land of Lists, 2016 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award finalist.

Lydia Swartz brawls with words, sound, movement, pronouns, and light in pursuit of capricious form. Does that make Lydia a poet? Lydia sporadically performs weirdly mixed un-hip genres in hip Seattle. Does that make Lydia a hipster? Lydia obnoxiously refuses to drive a stick or acquire an MFA. Lydia has a degree in editorial journalism and a job in health care marketing. Lydia blogs at No One Tells and keeps a Seattle Spoken Word calendar at Seattle Poet. You can find Lydia on Facebook and Twitter.

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