“When things fall apart, the children of the land scurry and scatter like birds escaping a burning sky…”

 - NoViolet Bulawayo


Fold the day up into some kind of Japanese lantern

And tuck your gasoline breath into its creases.


Blow it away until it finds water

Until it reaches down to tug on the billowing skirts of the sea


What are its chances of crossing the Mediterranean

What are its chances of learning to swim with sharks, when it was built for the air

What are its chances of crossing the Atlantic


How much torque did you breath into its bowels, what I mean to say is

What did it take to get it this far


Did you squander a thin slice of your own heart on its translucent skin

Is that your own artery whose valve props it upwards and open


Did you have the time to teach it how to drive

Are there memories of it papering the walls of your skull


Did you tend to its cries, rock it back to dreaming in its first nights

Are its paper veins pumped full of your own sweet sweat and nightmares


What I mean to ask is, when your little lantern leaves Aleppo, when the

ocean swallows it whole, will it be your own image you see sinking down?

LAURA FAIRGRIEVE received her MFA from Adelphi University, where she currently teaches. She is a 2016 recipient of the Poets & Writers Amy Award. Her work has appeared in Underwater New York, Inscape Magazine, Ink in Thirds, The Bitchin' Kitsch, East Coast Ink, and Words Dance Publishing. She lives in Brooklyn. Contact her at laurafairgrieve.com.