‘Rumination’ & ‘Liminality’


There’s a room somewhere that’s mine

if I can find it—
I don’t visit often

the houseplants are dried
the dishes have been pushed aside
someone has left a cup behind
disturbed my order of things

but it’s still mine, my darkened room
though I’ve forgotten
which door it is, which avenue
there are no numbers

I wander at night searching
until I hit upon the right one
I know it again, hidden, lost
I am lost again

I must water the plants
must straighten up, if only
I came more often
opened the curtains
sat on the sofa
put my feet up

never enough time to settle in
never claim it although I paid
a whole year in advance

I should stay this time—
but it’s enough to know
I can always come back
let some light into the silence.



the time between ‘before’ and ‘next’, a constant
transition that doesn’t know when transformation
ends, a moonless night

we are ambiguous beings disoriented
by an in-between stage like a rite of passage
paused, unable to name something wholly

we are fragments of others, threshold people
waiting to grow wings
standing in a metaphysical rain

hovering between poles like
a blurred boundary zone
neither dusk nor twilight exactly

a bardo between lives, a plurality
of stances, our feet planted on thick tree roots
or floating over an ocean cliff

we hang unbalanced, waiting to coalesce
into a new shape, a cocoon turned butterfly
or sporophyte, greenness out of a seed.


Projected Letters is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the best new and established writing from around the world.


Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 500 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is a Best of the Net and twice a Pushcart nominee. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. She is a retired teacher living in Oregon.