Elizabeth Paul

What Is to Be Done with Beauty?
by Elizabeth Paul

We didn’t know it was our question to answer.  Now it’s the room we sit in, the way we hold onto things, and how we plant our feet.

Sometimes we find ourselves here like deer too far from the forest.  We see the tree line in each other’s eyes and an urgency for leaping.  We would bed down, let our heads slip to the ground, and feel the solace of grass as we sleep with our eyes open.  Our alertness and night vision are gifts we didn’t ask for.

There are things we have learned: the handling of ourselves like rope—the slackening and the stretching—the composure of containment, the dignity of endurance, the way to wear extravagant hope—folded neatly and wound tightly around the head.

We lie in our beds, sit on our couch, and carpet the walls like our neighbors.  But even in this village, the understory is ours.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 3.

Elizabeth PaulElizabeth Paul has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and her work has appeared in River Teeth, Cold Mountain Review, Carolina Quarterly, and elsewhere. Liz served as a Peace Corps education volunteer in Kyrgyzstan for two years and currently teaches ESOL and writing in the Washington, D.C. area.  Find her at elizabethsgpaul.com.

See all items about Elizabeth Paul

Visit Elizabeth Paul’s contributors page.

Leave a Reply