until us / These Lost Days
By Ilana Drake & Erica Drennan
We wrote these two poems to showcase connection during an isolated time. Although we were geographically far apart, these poems knit us together as we wrote on a shared document.
eyes shut while the fire rages on
dreamcatcher stays put on the wall
into the hidden tunnels and walkways
feet stumbling along the ocean
toes dig into the sand searching for
something. searching for water, warmth.
no one tells you that toes have eyes.
they can see the path forward, if you let them.
blue skies sanctify the sand
and you roll back on the waves
head up, you stay afloat
counting down the days
until the fire burns itself out
until the dreamcatcher takes flight
until the tunnels emerge into the sun
until you become I
until we become us.
These Lost Days
The dream wisps away
like smoke tendrils in the air.
Words and images crack open
and vanish into dust.
I clutch my blanket
as my eyes try to stay shut.
Bridges and high heights
as the dream jumps.
Jumps to where? Somewhere,
lost. A liminal place,
between meaning and sense.
Where language lives and words are real.
Where do I stand? Far away,
cradling and catching myself.
Thinking of an immortal figure,
someone to save me from these lost days.
This was a truly collaborative piece. We each took a few moments to start a poem, writing a stanza, and then switching and writing the next stanza of the other’s poem. We built off of each other’s words, getting inspired by each other’s images and language. We went back and forth with each poem until we both felt like we had come to a good endpoint. It was so much fun to see the final product of our collaboration.
Ilana Drake is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and The Tennessean. Additionally, her poems have been seen in magazines such as WriteGirl's Lines & Breaks, CHINCHILLA LIT, and Poetry as Promised Literary Magazine. During high school, Ilana served on the NYC Department of Education Chancellor's Student Advisory Council, and she has advocated for inclusion in schools. When Ilana is not busy engaging in student activism and writing, she can be found enjoying the Nashville weather, hanging out with friends, and swimming. Ilana's work can be found here: https://ilanadrake.wixsite.com/mysite/projects.
Erica Drennan is a Ph.D. Candidate and Literature Humanities Instructor at Columbia University. Her dissertation, "Reading and Judging: Russian Literature on Trial," reexamines Russian novels through the lens of mock trials performed in the 1920s and 1930s. Her academic work has appeared in the Slavic and East European Journal and online at The Conversation. When she is not teaching or working on her dissertation, Erica writes fiction, devours novels, and dabbles in running, knitting and baking. During quarantine she has become obsessed with the New York Times Crossword. This is her third year as a mentor for Girls Write Now.