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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Prose Poem: 162 words
By Elaine Terranova

Before the Trip


I’m neither here nor there, still casualty of the 50-mile-an-hour windgusts the day before, the sprays of rain that blew me over. I clung to the bus shelter but nothing was coming, only water and wind. A vertigo gripped me. I couldn’t tell up from down. My head beat with the clatter of outdoors. No wonder then today to find myself indecisive over a bowl of udon. The noodles go one way; they go another. They cannot be pinned down. I slurp, slurp, as I’ve seen people do in Japan. Their only weapon a ceramic spoon but I grip silverware, fork and tablespoon, with the same tenacity I used in yesterday’s gale. I’ve tied a paper napkin around my neck like a ruff. This they do in Japan as well, to protect against the long, thick noodles flailing every which way, so instead they may be drawn sleekly into the perfect round openings of their mouths.

Elaine Terranova
Issue 11, January 2022

is the author of seven books of poetry and a memoir, The Diamond Cutter’s Daughter: A Poet’s Memoir. She is a winner of the Walt Whitman Award, the Off the Grid Press Award, a Pew Fellowship, an NEA, and two PA Council on the Arts grants. Her work has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, APR, The New Yorker, and other magazines and anthologies.

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