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Eurydice Hires a Writing Coach

by Eva Heisler


Write events, not meaning. Otto reprimands Eurydice
when she litters her page with abstract nouns.

Despair. Disappointment. Disbelief.

Forget about interpretation. We want conflict.

Accountability. Impossibility. Illegibility.

Your protagonist is willfully obtuse.

Otto’s bearded face freezes, mouth open.
Wi-Fi is spotty, and she must Zoom

where passage between underworld and upper-world
is most porous, props her device

on a stack of oil drums, the screen high
and angled like a shop’s security mirror.

Visibility. Inevitability. Flammability.

Otto thaws. Waggles his fingers.
Leave your smartness off the page.

Otto agreed to coach Eurydice pro bono
since she is dead

in return for one photo a week.

Don’t care about subject matter,
could be dust, could be transistor, could be mud,

just want to say
I’ve received something from the underworld.

She snaps a photo of her ear.

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Among the Kitsch of the Dead

by Eva Heisler

Phones bob in the river Lethe. More
phones than shoes. More phones

than plastic spoons. She gathers
pocket-sized vaults of data and heartbreak.

It might be something to do, hack
the devices of the dead. A gasket

floats like the fat black letter “O”
on the cover of her husband’s latest book.

The fifteenth letter of the alphabet gloats.
Orpheus—she can’t escape his brand.


Eva Heisler has published two books of poetry: Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic (Kore Press) and Drawing Water (Noctuary Press). Honors include the Poetry Society of America's Emily Dickinson Award and fellowships at MacDowell and Millay Arts. Poems have recently appeared in Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Seneca Review. She was co-winner of the 2021 Poetry International Prize and, most recently, Smartish Pace awarded her the 2023 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize.  

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