Poem | We spread the world out when we dance

2019, October – San Blas Islands, Panama

We spread the world out when we dance. Flatten the corners
of the globe, smooth the edges like paper. We are born
believing, but then have the minds to question where and
what we are. Distance is a thing we invent: close your eyes
and it falls to ashes. When we look at the stars, they are not so far
away, but burn inside us, little pieces
of heaven shining through our veins.
See the earth from children’s minds: how round it is, how perfect.
Our hearts know no boundaries. We make the rash decisions
——- (as young things do)——- we see before we understand, love
before we count the miles. Sometimes logic fails us. Sometimes
words fail us, too. We sing with the sun inside our chests.

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fingers comma toes | Podcast: The kids are alright

fingers comma toes has been featured this month in a podcast with Mr. Bear’s Violet Hour Saloon / The Secret Lives of Stuffed Animals in their episode The kids are alright. The podcast includes music paired with stories and poems from international writers four to sixteen years old.

The podcast can be listened to or downloaded at secretlives.podbean.com.

Many thanks to our contributors featured here for sharing their work, and to Mr. Bear for including us in this project!

—Lola Elvy

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fingers comma toes | August 2019 Issue Space

fingers comma toes‘ August 2019 issue Space is now published! This is our seventh issue, and it includes works from authors and artists seven to twenty-two years old, from Germany, New Zealand, and the United States. It opens with the drawing Mx. Universe by Liberty Tidberg (cover image), age sixteen, and closes with the poem Space is a blanket by Chloe Wu, age seven.

The issue can be found below:

For more information, also see fingerscommatoes.wordpress.com.

Thank you to our contributors for making this issue!

—Lola Elvy

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Poem | Sea-floors

2016 – near Munich, Germany

Written 2019, February 08

Darkness falls and we descend
like waterfowl plunging downward
to their small sea-floors

Midnight has the eyes of an eagle
watching earnestly
you set the items on the table in the dark hours:
bread and a side of fruit, red and glistening
hovering over it, the touch of leaden hands

I take your hand and try
to offer consolation
but my words are flowers, orchids
elegant but wilting
long before the owner wants
your words are daffodils, silent
when winter comes

And this is what leads me to think of swans
or geese or even egrets
not my words or the fruit on the table
but the look in your eyes
swollen like dew drops on the blades of grass
before the sun has time to warm them
and in their pupils, a bird’s wings
spread and ready to fly
into a world of blue

Published in Fast Fibres Poetry 6 (August 2019): fastfibres.wordpress.com. Thanks to Piet Nieuwland and Olivia Macassey for including this piece.

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Poem | Our Souls Are Stars


2017 – Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Written 2019, March 24

In response to March 15

Our souls are stars:
they live distant from each other
their light delayed by moments, days
or even years
the separation
of body mind dust
light touch sound
but in this delay
our souls outlive our bodies
and in our dreams, perception
is our own design
so one may fade, but decades after
her presence lingers
and even in our later years
we are still learning how to know her
remembering, noticing, the way she walked
or laughed, or liked to sing
such is the nature
of grief, the endlessness
of love, that it still takes us
by surprise
that you look at me with eyes of grey
and in them light I hope one day
will reach me
that I lean into you
like the fern leans towards the sun
——-a cosmic act, even
——-here on earth
unfurling at the edges in a slow dance, becoming one
with daylight and the air it breathes
stretching out to touch the limits
of its infinite world

Published in Flash Frontier’s April 2019 LOVE issue: flash-frontier.com.

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Poem | There Are Streetlights In Paradise | The Larger Geometry

2015 – Madagascar

Written 2018, January 22
06:51 pm

After Ian Wedde

Snow falls from glass skies. Your single finger points; there
you say, you can almost see through it. We are
like raindrops, scattered by the streetlights
outside your house, little follicles of heaven in
your asphalt back yard, our frozen paradise
in this new year. You tip your glass towards the pavement, and our
clocks stand still. Even the clouds are hollow, receptacles of golden
light. We painted them with the hands of children
and on this sunlit night, we dance.

Just published in The Larger Geometry: poems for peace. The book is now available on Amazon here. I’m very glad to be included in this project.


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Poem | Somarôho

2015 – Crater Bay, Madagascar

Written 2015, August 27
11:18 am

There is color in the skies, mirroring the ground’s beat, and the bustle of feet has never felt so lively, and it is suffocating and liberating, the smell of people sickening and overwhelming, comforting and beckoning, drawing you in, conning you into believing that this, this chaos, this unison without form, is home somehow, and you believe it, you do, because what else is there to believe, what other course of action to take, but forward, constantly forward, moving not through or alongside the crowd, but with it, watching it move alongside you, and this is, in truth, an individual act, a motion comprised of individual persons with individual lives, and there is music in the streets today, you know, but you cannot hear it, no, the noise, the noise, it’s too much, it is drowning you, taking your breath from your lungs, but you are at peace, you do not mind, because this, this is home, and the con is not a cruel con, no, because you know it for what it is, a lie wrapped in clothes of red and yellow and blue, but you close your eyes to it for now, because lies are ideas, and they are real, and they matter, and because yesterday there was no music in the streets, and tomorrow there will be no rush of people, but today, today is now, today is present, and today can last forever if you let it.

[Note: Somarôho – Malagasy festival, Nosy Be, Madagascar]

Just published in Flash Frontier’s October 2018 AFRICA issue: flash-frontier.com. Thanks to the editors for selecting this piece.

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Poem | Orchid

2017 – Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Written 2018, March 05
10:00 pm

She told him he should pick the flowers. He’d accepted the duty without a word. He likes the pink ones. Not pale, baby pink; lush pink, dark, like fire. Wild. She approaches from behind. They’re pink, she says. Yes. You can’t have pink, she says. Why not? Silence cuts the air between them. He wants to reach for her arm, cradle her elbow with the tips of his fingers. It’s been three weeks. She hasn’t even held his hand. She liked pink, he says. Pick something else, she says, and walks away.

Just published in Olentangy Review’s Spring 2018 issue: olentangyreview.com. Very happy to have this piece there.

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Poem | Twilight, Nov. 07, 05:50 am

2017 – Ihla de Mozambique, Mozambique

Written 2017, November 07
05:50 am

Light spreads its way
across the sky like a

drop of ink
on dry cotton sheets:

starts at one point
and expands

as wind shuffles
over bodies, seas

hoist your sails
and I’ll throw this one

the night can have it

hear the waves

how they seem satisfied
with their hour’s catch

and the dawn smells
so strongly

of copper
and of iron ore

and the clouds
are flowers, hyacinths

to be touched lightly, caressed
by your delicate fingers

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fingers comma toes | January 2018 Issue: Unthemed – published

fingers comma toes‘ January 2018 issue is now published. It is our first unthemed issue, and resulted in lots of diverse artwork and writing from students around the world.

The issue can be found here: fingerscommatoes.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/january-2018-issue-unthemed

For more information, see fingerscommatoes.wordpress.com.

Thank you.

—Lola Elvy

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