semantikon feature literature
June 2009:
Emily Habermehl
1. Fire
2. Banners
3. My Head
4. Mexican Cemetaries
5. Toads
6. A Soldier and an Unmade Bed
7. The Cigarette girl, the Sow and the Mermaid
8. Is This Thing On?
9. Raisins and Prunes (Reduced for Quick Sale)
Emily Jean Habermehl was born in Philadelphia and has called Austin home since 2001.  She has been writing poetry since she was 12 years old and currently works as a licensed social worker for a large non-profit agency.  She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007.  You can read more of her work at:
emily habermehl broadside poster
Download June 2009
Broadside Poster
About Artist:

emily habermehl, poet, essayist, pushcart prize, friscoshoes, brambles, austin, texas, pennsylvania,


Leaves littered on the sidewalk
Though they’d been abandoned to rot – I’d
Lead them there after a journey
They refused to dissolve.  They formed into a toad,
Scaly skin covered muscles leaping away, no water
Where there is hurt, (deserts shrink wrap this pain)
No words no words no words I hadn’t been
Prepared for the
Violent silence that followed
Distracted, I had been reliving you
Running your tongue along my teeth
The sweetest touches had finally reached me

As I felt your hands sink in my back pockets
I tried not to fall back in time


I scratched out
So many letters in my head, I wrote in fevers but never
Sent a thing
So verbal compulsions dribbling flowing from my mouth was
Necessary, it was an
Absolute like ice in blinding winter
It had been absent
You ignored my eyes changing from green to blue, you tasted
So salty brutal, you smelled of sorrow drowned in anger
I grabbed greedily (desperate) with my nails, (don’t tell me to let go) –
I hadn’t meant harm
I’m so sorry, I wanted to

You won’t hear me now
It’s over
You said you didn’t think you’d mind, you could
Tolerate (me)
Using tweezers to lift every stitch in my wounds, I stifled
Screams and chose sobs instead

(How long ago did you die, little brother?)


Screens moved before my eyes
Light and sound bled and seeped around me
But it never made contact
Like living in a TV
My palms pressed against the glass
Lips moving, why can’t they hear me?
When I had dared to pray
That a God god (who?) would deliver
You to me, (could I be
Finally deserving, had yet to be
Good enough)
It had been a complicated simplicity for you
To rest in my arms
Though usually foreign on my tongue, I had
Used prayers to keep you, I’d asked so nicely

Like a stray
Found far from home
Can I keep him?  Please…

Torn away pain fills
In all my gaps now
Numbness falls like night, alone
In it hollowed my gut intentions
(Remember when you had hope?)
Are those whispers inside drums
Do they get my meaning, will he
Ever know
I loved him

I wanted to apologize because I miss you even as terror
Glows in the corner of my room