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A Poem by Isabella Costa

you wake up

chock-full of dread. 


you only have

five days left

your cuckoo says.


‘tis tues day—

barely a week

to make amends.


on your carotid

a finger lands;

you come awake


pulse runs thick

time runs thin

full fills fate


‘gainst your will.

keep it still

you run too.


weak wednes day—

weekly word spill,

a doom endeavour.


Father greets you

arms open wide

pristine and screened,


His one advice

cues a scream:

do or die.


thawing thurs day—

old bells toll

the coming hour.


my golden child

please pay heed

to my tune


repeat as told:

spiral of love

breed me anew.


folk fri day—

friend or foe

it will devour


you nod no

all most done

all most true


am mo nite

syn the size

vain de sire


mem re wipe

brain re rite

chem re wire


all most done 

all most true

chant the choir.


still satur day—

no shop opens.

odds and ends


all but gone

you see shape;

all but sea.


do not mourn

a clear stage

come to me.


done and true:

you must leave

it all behind.


on solemn sunday

you shall rise.

Back to BoundBy: October '23 (Edition #5)

A Statement by Isabella Costa on her process

Sermon and confessional were born from grief. Since experiencing it first-hand, I have struggled to make sense of my religious upbringing in light of tragedy, and to find faith where there is none. My memory has worsened, as has my fear of impending doom. In times of doubt, I find myself recalling events arbitrarily, filling in the gaps with tales rather than facts, questioning whether things happened at all. I often wonder if the people who left me did so for a reason. If they were plagued by horrific visions or whisked away by divine will. In sermon, I observe their vanishing in search of answers. In confessional, I recreate their final days in search of meaning. 

The idea was to connect the two pieces from different points of view. When writing, I like to choose a specific set of themes, patterns, and symbols as the heart of a poem. It’s about establishing motifs that mirror each other until they break down. This time I was inspired by stories of Catholic saints who had revelations, and by the Greek chorus as a foretelling entity. These voices haunt the soon-to-be missing person and anticipate the loneliness of sermon. They cannot delay the inevitable, only announce it. In that sense, the poem is meant to be sung like a prophecy - from the slow realization of undoing to the undoing itself. 


At the climax, my goal was to return everything to a very elementary state of being. Where real is imaginary, death is rebirth, and missing memory is reclaimed by a prehistoric sea. I hope to have given the people who left a chance to return, too. 

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