Emily Boshkoff is a practicing child psychologist in Northern Virginia, but her heart lies in the Midwest where she grew up. She loves working with children with autism and feels grateful for a career that she is passionate about. A perpetual world wanderer, she likes to write about places that are hard to find, either geographically or within ourselves. Her creative writing has been featured in Edgz, Etchings, and Hippocampus Magazine.
It was like looking into the eye of God.
A liquid, reverberating blue.
It seemed like the water had never
been rippled, like sewing with silk that resists creases,
it slips and pours off the edge of your table, eluding
the grasp of all but the most skilled seamstresses.
I took a lover along
who days before had violated my trust. She called it
a “misunderstanding” then; we both said what we had to
to preserve the weekend. It was June and the diamond sun
glinted off snowy peaks. We bounded through drifts and built snowmen;
we sunbathed at the peak. At the summit, we danced--
a slow, graceful unraveling; I could see everything.
For days after, my skin was chapped red
from frostbite and sunburn. Fire and ice
in the same breath; we never had to choose
our destruction after all.
Highways here are bridges across oceans
Of sandy soil and course grass, punctuated
With crumbling thatched-roof huts.
Freckled with bright green signs:
Salidas a 500 metros.
In the medians, brown men crouch like tiny bulkheads,
Their machetes flashing in the sun, back and forth,
Severing grass that’s gone belly up in the heat.
Snub-nosed with tourist buses and missionary church vans
Scuttle to and fro, while the working men
Slap their leather-thick calloused feet against the pavement
Jay-walking to the bus stop.
They, with their bodies worn and broken in
Like used baseball gloves, will return home
To their beautiful lean wives. To watch their strong young sons
Playing in the dusty colonias, running the jagged roads
That are lie a thin, crooked scar
Of a poorly-healed wound.
La Route Rouge
The north-south thoroughfare
from Lubumbashi to Kamina. Everything
is red. A fine
crimson grit clings to every surface. With moisture
it turns to paste, caking your boots, your clothes, a great, indelible smear
across everything you own. In the rainy days, it becomes a great, seething,
ankle-deep river of red, and you slog through,
packages bound to your back, pushing your vehicle. It pulses
in rivulets around your legs, reminding you
of militia’s open season, when it really was blood. The mai mai lurched
erratically along, laying waste to everything, leaving rivers of blood
in their wake.
Now, in summer, the air is hot, and sticky, and quiet. Red dust
swirls in innocuous clouds. The sun, a bright red ball,
hovers a moment, like a drooping eyelid, before smashing
headlong into the horizon with a nuclear
flash. It is dark in the instant. You can’t see the infamous
redness of the road stretching before you—only hear
the question throbbing in your own ears: which
came first? The blood or the dirt?
I’m told the mountains of Kigali are unbearably green
this time of year. But enough about blood. Bright
sunny mornings in Nairobi belie
little of tragedy. Did you hear
they have autism in Kenya? This morning
she is repeating something in Japanese, turning the words over
and over on her tongue, letting them settle
into their niche in her brain, where no one
can reach her. In a flash of fury, her fingers dart out,
carving a red riverbed of flesh in the smooth terrain
of her teacher’s face. The great rift valley.