[Accidentally, I don’t Believe We Made It Here]

by Kathrine L. Wright

Accidentally, I don’t believe we made it here
Wherever here we are
Our rocketship all creaky with woodrot
Our tiny teeth aching for calcium

We must have traveled years
to make it this far.
And honey, you still feel delicious
early gray, heading the wrong direction
I’m not sure what put us here
or how fold after fold, the map transmogrified.

I’m lost. A forest should be here, the grasses, I know it,
grew waist high around me.
Grasses you could live in for days,
whatever you were hiding from.
Is this the same strange place we left
just a couple light years ago?

What’s with all the dead animals?
Who moved my sweet mucky swamp?

We were supposed to end up in a galaxy
heavy with nova, quasars dwarf stars, moons entire,
all spiraled with asters, anthereum, algae.
Instead, your lungs seem heavy with dust
my eyelids sting, carry walls of water.
I knew that exit was doomed, ignited with oil as it was

Ten minutes ago, your beauty was an exploding mist
My touch lofted your speech into noiseless space
Where colors, all of them, flashed by in parallel
We must have moved so swiftly, brightly we were invisible
Mistaken for white noise, thunder,
Though we’re certain we were breaking sound,
bending time, killing fire.

There are only this many words.
We could hold them all, they wouldn’t weigh twenty pounds
The vaporous words the counterweight to others
Like anti-calories, watercress, celery, watermelon.

Enough of that, honey.
Mmmm. Sip a fine cup of hot, hot, hot this:
Pretend, graphite, scooping shiver, REM, sky.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

You remember I said yes and endless and there.
And by endless I could have meant
this frail body knows how to give
back, knows how to need what it needs.
Hope, die, lure, grow, scream, chew, release.

In theory, the oxygen you take is gifted
By some earthbound thing gifted
With what you let go. You equal.
But in the release, a body fails.
The final exhale each evening
a settling into dreams that don’t exist
when we untangle ourselves in the morning.

Kathrine L. Wright‘ s fiction and poetry is upcoming or has appeared in New Orleans Review, Weber Studies, La Petite Zine, Cenotaph, and What There Is: The Crossroads Anthology. She has a B.A. from the University of Utah and worked as an editorial assistant for Quarterly West. Kathrine is currently working on a novel (in novellas) entitled Back Space. A native Utahn who grew up camping among red rocks and sagebrush, she now resides near the Everglades.