“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.