Silver Branch series:         

Ryan Norman

Ryan Norman is a writer from New York living in the Hudson Valley.

 

Inspired by the landscape, he writes what he feels. His work has appeared in From Whispers to Roars, XRAY Literary Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Storgy Magazine and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @RyanMGNorman and an updated list of his publications at Linktree: https://linktr.ee/RyanMGNorman

"I love the sounds different consonants and vowels make when you string them together, their rhythm, their meaning. For me, writing is hypnotic. I fall in and out of it like a trance. Stories need to be told. If someone relates to what I have to say, great. But I write for myself; I write what I feel when I feel it. It is my way of letting all of my thoughts go, and sometimes people read what I have to say."

Ryan Norman

Ash to Dust 

 

Buried to my knees, ice-soled,

I call for Brighid to light

the dark, to shoulder my burden:

 

In the distance, 

the Ash tree 

flames to dust. 

From Christmas/ winter edition 2019

 

Apple Passage

 

A woman shrouded in mist

draws me to the sea extending

a fruit-bearing branch, her song

 

a promise to the otherworld.

I pluck my apple, passage

to a ghost ship. Sea-brined air

 

takes bites at its flesh

leaving only seeds

inside my quaking palm—

 

the silver-cloud parts

on shore unveiling

a torch-lit cavern

under an apple tree.

 

From Deep Time 2

Morning Ritual

 

Light leaks morning across blank flesh,

flashing spotted memories, connecting dots—

its golden finger traces your landscape,

warming skin still chilled from

a late night swim.

From forthcoming 'Freedom/ Rapture' edition

Deeper

 

The old tree above

takes deep breaths

 

inflating the cavern’s

underland.

 

Heavy mists suffocate

the torch once illuminating

 

umbilical roots,

feeding the hungry maw

 

that swallowed souls

searching for peace

in the afterlife.

 

 

From Deep Time volume 1

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To the Many

 

I press my ear to the grass,

listen to the thump

 

of heartbeats, and feel for a pulse

as the earth heaves—

 

many have lived here before.

 

I turn my face toward the sun.

 

From Deep Time volume 2

Soothsayer

I watched you there, underneath dawn’s golden drip, wondering how you didn’t drown in your sleep as the light flooded in. First across your eyes, a rich mask depuffing the bloat of last night’s consumption; then leaking down your nose past your mouth. I watched the sun’s heavy hand grasp your throat, yet you went on sleeping in our tiny tent, and didn’t so much as come up for air. And I was drowning, again, at your feet; the 6 am dew dripping on my forehead.

 

It was best to let you sleep, I would come to find out some months later. Count your breaths, settle into them like they were my own. A belly rises in rhythm for a count of 7—lucky for me I learned. But your family said I soothed you, so a belly can sink for a count of 5. Without the soothing, you spat burning coals at our feet; and I wasn’t relieved to know it wasn’t just me on fire. You taught me to roll until the flames died. And they did. But I could no longer soothe myself while you burned in the sun.

 

It’s nights like those, where we swallowed the burn until the stars fell on top of us; where your naked ambitions eroded under river’s wet carvings, blank marble chiseled into blank flesh; the whooping cheers and whistles silent under river’s roar. And I read the moon’s full face, just a soothsayer for a night. And I swiped my reflection in the water, knowing how fraudulent that grin would be in golden light.

Exclusive for the 'Silver Branch' series.

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