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Homage to Emily Dickinson

Photo taken of the artist in his home by Sam C. Long

By Jay Neugeboren

Upstairs She Ties Her Poems in String
Upstairs she ties her poems in string
And thus her heart at last flies free—
Though hope is surely not the thing
On fire within that none can see—

But words that sear and blind her eyes—
While in the room below her room
Her upright brother bucks and cries
And spears his secret lover’s womb.

Because she cannot stop the sound
These two entwined downstairs create—
She opens wide a Mind that’s found
A world sublime and inchoate.

Jay Neugeboren is the author of twenty-two books, including five prizewinning novels (The Stolen JewBefore My Life Began1940Poli: A Mexican Boy in Early Texas; and The American Sun & Wind Moving Picture Company), two prizewinning books of nonfiction (Imagining RobertTransforming Madness), and four collections of award-winning stories. His writing has appeared in publications including The New York TimesThe New York Review of BooksThe Atlantic MonthlyGQ, and The American Scholar, as well as being published in over fifty anthologies. He is the only writer to have won six consecutive PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. Visit

**A version of this article appeared in print in Honeysuckle Magazine’s HERS issue, summer 2017 edition.

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