CARTOGRAPHY by Emily Paige Wilson

CARTOGRAPHY
by Emily Paige Wilson

Morning makes itself bluer by the minute. Colder, too, as the temperature falls. In my friend’s apartment, we sit in her breakfast nook while the bay window lets in light. Steam rises from white plates, broccoli omelets and the scent of garlic and salt. My friend lists places in the tourist district we’ll visit today, leads me to an expansive map stretched across a wall. The Czech Republic’s outline etched in black. All the country’s borders linked and locked by land; the Vltava a thin, persistent reminder of thirst twisting through. She points to Malá Strana, the John Lennon Wall where people paint a layered collage of lyrics on brick. The window reminds me how cold it is outside: the snow and sudden wind. I don’t know if I can give up this warmth, hands wrapped around a cup of coffee. Her finger traces an itinerary and then there it is: a small town sloping into Slovakia’s northern border. Jalubí. A word I’ve never seen before but recognize the way snow knows the ground and feels it must either stick or melt, the way the bridge knows the river though they’ve never touched. My family has been searching for a farm in Jalobee for years, a town remembered as a misspelling. Here it is now, known and navigable. My friend slips small tubes of paint into her purse, asks if I’d like any particular color. Green, I say. Green, please.


Emily Paige Wilson’s poetry has been nominated for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and a Pushcart Prize. Her manuscript was a finalist for the 2016 Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press. Her work can be found in The Adroit JournalThe Boiler JournalHayden’s Ferry ReviewPANK, and Thrush, among others. She lives in Wilmington, NC, where she received her MFA from UNCW, and works as an English adjunct. She rules her life like a fine skylark and is working on her crow pose.

Image credit: Slava Bowman on Unsplash

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