Yael Veitz is a New York-based poet and professional empath. Her works reflect her geographically-diverse background, her work in mental health, and, occasionally, her love for her cats. Read her work below and at the links on the publication section of this website.
I love a boy in sunless quarters
cultivating some unloved craft,
some exquisite obscurity.
I love a boy in archives,
playing bars for tips
smoking his solitude.
I am a creature of the world,
shriveling in darkness.
My limbs dance without meaning to
yellow as daffodils
for a long time, I lauded this wholeness–
this me-ness, perfectly shaped and textured,
let ivy cover its walls
let no man past its gate.
But now, his wholeness beckons mine.
Its fingers curl like tendrils,
and we, in half-sun, half-barroom, entwine.
Bird of refuse
drinking at sewage grates
kicked and chased
has found a friend
She, fourteen, stands alone
but she casts out crumbs.
She whispers to him,
talking of pills she used to kill the thing inside of her.
And he, who has many children
drinking at sewage grates,
just coos and coos.
Matriarch, good witch
Her eyes hazel moons,
gray curls spinning into my brown ones
She shelters me from deluge,
hands me feathered arrows on each visit,
feeds me crumbs of sanity
‘til I can keep them down.
This is Sara:
not the mentor I pictured, ancient and grave in her desert,
but laughing, buoyant,
with her sorceress’ intuition,
her measureless magic words.
Aboard her whaler,
we harpoon fears,
stretch our fingers across oceans
she, lodestar, burns bright.
Inside her cabin
we summon fireflies,
spell out wishes on the log walls,
This is therapy.
This—not the hundred other times I’ve tried.
There is no disconnect.
I grow into her,
twin hazel eyes like mirrors
I feather my own arrows now, feed crumbs to other folk,
wield my own magic;
still I turn to her in wonder
apprentice glowing in her lightning
like the moon.
I jolt around the room,
interstellar dust—comet tails sparking up in every direction
the air is afire.
I’m an asteroid belt
but you burn steady, slow.
Your gravity gives me direction.
I condense, pivot around you like a carousel horse,
marveling all the while.
You regard my dusty surface–my craterous complexion,
smooth me out.
You remind me that moons inspire lore,
that the way I see myself — lifeless, pockmarked, grey—
bears no resemblance to Artemis,
or to any ancient moon-myth,
those hundred goddesses’ nude forms,
glowing in the twilight.
You kiss my round head,
send me spinning.
You give me my axis.
You say, “Luna, you’re enchanting
shake the stench of death in the air
rattle your lungs with one strong cry
that reverberates through a house too full of silence.
Turn red as ever flesh was,
and by your presence rosy the walls’ white paint, dingy with age.
you varicolored fleeces
grandparents will coo like old birds,
and say that they are full of love—that it was love they always wanted
but they’ll miss the gift of flight you give
the lesson in astonishment
at seeing rainbows in oily water.
City of earth, of sleeping souls
holding our shared ancestors as if in a cradle, under the mountain steps
Do not inter the living.
Do not crush your inhabitants under broken cobblestones, blanketing them with thin white dust as they sleep.
You bury. It is your calling. You deaden their hearts, let them cast stones at each other at the bus stop.
The flimsy fence between them, strewn with garbage, becomes another monument to the dead.
You are all gravestone. You are cracked walls, broken pavement, warning signs and scarlet declarations gashed into centuries-old walls,
I slog up your steps,
Sneak into both halves of your great tomb, and feel the great sleep coming over me,
Eyelids heavy with weeping
I almost curl up on the carpet at the mothers’ feet
If the city has ears, they must be here, in the women who carried me
so I murmur to them.
They incline their heads to me—Sarah, Rivkah, toss their soft braids over my shoulder,
their ears a great desert expanse,
their wombs puckered, leathern
I try to tell them.
I try to tell them about the stones, the swastikas,
about the thick glass between our two halves, and the bullets that put it there
about the girl who slashed her wrists to ribbons, wound those around her throat
I try to tell them—Sarah, Rivkah—
beg them to shake the earth,
to level the trenches,
to forget the old jealousies
but my words come out in squeaks—only one word, many times
just please, and please, and please—