Beauty Always Extracts a Price
All the world is an urgent fire warning—purple lightning in human profile, caught in glorious photos of famous skylines. (Who knew its jaw was so strong?) Every morning the freeways compose their original preludes. Pieces of asphalt crack and pull themselves up from the streets. The mailbox fills with paper (can it be called letters?) and I’m close to finding the keyboard my send button cleaves to. Let me imagine your lower face in any shape I like. To bring out your eyes: the short, curved beak of owl—thinking it must be night. But today the sun disappears instead of setting. Here is where the veil of day falls around us, its duty ended. Here is where the land turns over.
Location Shoot, Night, With Crows as Props
It’s not spring, with its feathered pink. Our shadows are dim, crouched under the starlight. We’re in a movie, my friend says, all the time. Like right now. Nothing is reflected in the pooled remnants of rain. A low, decorative fence encircles the ash tree trunks. It’s hard, almost impossible, for some people to imagine this, he says. We talk like we’re saying movie lines to each other. I watch his long strides, his old Vans, self-consciously kicking up rocks. Then he says, The movie’s over, by the way. I feel again what several people told me did not exist. A flock of crows lands in the ash. Their blackness is the weight of night air—the thinking of wind. No, it isn’t, I say. Like it’s up to him. We pick through the mud, hearing voices of skinned bark. The crows take flight—and the air pressure drops on the ground.
The Cities Have No Use for Seasons
The children wait for starlight that hasn’t yet arrived. We are yearless. The day that struts so brightly— minor notes of yellow leaves disorder the shuddering lawn—will be dead by morning. The week has no Sunday, no expression at all—just the tugging effect of sound pulled through glass. The sky is white and out of reach, by day and by night, ever since we turned winter into lamplight. Our choices are spring or summer, spring or summer, oleander or palm. The saplings think of us as young.
KIMBERLY KRALOWEC is the author of a chapbook, We Retreat into the Stillness of Our Own Bones (Tolsun Books, forthcoming May 2022). Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Inflectionist Review, MORIA Literary Magazine, Sublunary Review, The Night Heron Barks, High Shelf, and Birdland. A lawyer by profession, she holds an English degree from Pomona College in Claremont, California and lives in San Francisco. Her poetry blog is anapoetics.com.
Cover image by Dréa Collage
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