The Chain
Elizabeth Hoover

Thrum and hush thrum and hush thrum hush some great creature pacing
inside a smaller creature wing caught within wing. Thrum hush this on my
link on the barrel echoed on this my link on the neck. Thrum hush twisting
and what is this twisting then into the ear twisting to listen to what the ear
heard, to see what the ear heard in this membranous labyrinth that jumps
and sways, a maze within a maze. Did you know how the labyrinth within
the labyrinth jumps and sways, sloshes and strains, a strip of cilia that
sway in the jump, cascades sparks downcoil? Have you seen how they
prostrate, these cilia, hair flung over their heads? Have you seen how they
prostrate then right themselves for a fraction of a fraction then slosh and
sway to tune the crest and break to braid of current spiral labyrinth jump
sway thrum hush passback passforth kneel and raise? Have you seen them
in that one hundreds of hundreds per second, how they take the slosh and
pass it to tune, oh, to tune precisely? A storm tossing a battleship within a
bottle. This symphony within hush a music box. Can you make this stretch
and spiral, jump and swell, thrum and hush, kneel and raise? Can you
make this cellbody, boneboney, tunebody, membrane body, wind body,
wingbody? I know you make this notbody, this gritbody, this ashbody you
drag me through. Me, the only thing that didn’t burn. Have you seen this
membrane that tunes water into song, chant, story, speech, prayer, plea?
Did you know how it thrums and hushes, jumps and sways? It kneels and
raises, crests and breaks, braids and currents, sparks and sways? How
could you know? How could you?


Now, from your hand, just our thrum and hush over the ash.


Elizabeth Hoover is a writer who enjoys working on projects that have a conceptual or research element. “The Chain” is from a series of poems about the lynching of two Seminole teenagers in Oklahoma in 1898.  Her poetry has appeared in Pank, The Los Angeles Review, and Folio. Her essay “Smudge” received the 2014 StoryQuarterly essay prize. You can see more of her work at