Elizabeth Silver

Elizabeth L. Silver holds a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, and a JD from Temple University Beasley School of Law. She has taught ESL in Costa Rica, worked in book publishing in New York, and was an adjunct professor of English composition and literature at Drexel University and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She has been the recipient of several grants, including funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to be a writer-in-residence at the Byrdcliffe Artist Colony in Woodstock, NY as well as from the British Center for Literary Translation to be a fellow at the Literary and Translation Workshop in Tarazona, Spain. She has also worked as a Briefing and Research Attorney for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin, and is licensed to practice law in the state of California.

When They Ask Me What I do

When they ask me what I do,
I smile,
dig my teeth into the fleshy lid of my lower lip,
and grouse.

Language is but a means of survival,
vicissitudes of verisimilitude, a three-piece suit and horn-rimmed
the eagle-wide stretch of open pants,
the liberation of duality.

Bifurcation of the self,
infests with termites of uncertainty,
whittling my internal bedrock
until it is soot.

Still, that fission of the soul,
wearing such an apocryphal nameplate of identity,
becomes a fusion of the flesh.

So, when they ask me what I do, the answer is but two
identities, no different from the other,
flawed without fullness, but incomplete without the

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