Tongues by Eleonore Schönmaier

POET NAME: Eleonore Schonmaier POEM TITLE: Tongues POEM: Shell of a snail on the cracked desert earth: spiral of auburn and blue opening into a small tuba’s mouth. Children want to stretch their tongues out. Instead they walk in beige dust clouds and poke sticks into the earth as it splits away from itself—A few raindrops and the children will speak the word for green— If the winds do not blow too strong— Northern mining children kick the soccer ball and it tumbles over the grey-soil fissures: the cyanide field. They find abandoned shells the red casings of bullets, a blue water pistol, a red truck with its black wheels crushed and no blade of grass. When the rain comes green is the paint-by-number colour outside the playground. END OF POEM. CREDITS: Copyright © Eleonore Schönmaier Previously published in Grain (Winter 2019) and is forthcoming in Field Guide to the Lost Flower of Crete (MQUP, 2021) Eleonore Schönmaier’s collection Wavelengths of Your Song (McGill-Queen’s University Press) will be published in German translation in 2020. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed collections Dust Blown Side of the Journey (MQUP) and Treading Fast Rivers (MQUP). Her new collection Field Guide to the Lost Flower of Crete is forthcoming in 2021 (MQUP). Greek, Dutch, Scottish, American and Canadian composers have set her poems to music. She has won the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, the Earle Birney Prize, and the 2019 National Broadsheet contest. Her poetry has been included in the League of Canadian Poets and the Academy of American Poets Poem in Your Pocket Day Brochure, and has been widely anthologised in the United States and Canada including in Best Canadian Poetry.