by Avril Bries
It has been a year. I do not know how to explain,
But perhaps, let us say only this:
I was sad, then.
I had become accustomed to your hands
being paperweights on my skin. What you read there and what I am
never seemed to quite coincide. My body did not feel like poetry,
only a map of roads well-traveled, with you always
choosing the destination.
All I could think then was, Are we there yet?
wanted to say,
Men never ask for directions.
Let’s stop. We’re going nowhere.
I do not miss your hands. Would not let them run down me
and remember what they know. The places they’d found
are nothing more than wasteland now.
I was sad, then.
I did not know how to tell you—
But words were not needed.
My sadness was taken from me.
It was not that I didn’t care for my sadness. Only it was too heavy,
I stepped too lightly to bear it—I was too small, too fearful
of letting it fall to the ground.
Today I would tell us
We ruined love.
Everything we’d needed was already there, and yet
we played God, we dabbled with creation, bodies straining towards heaven.
You and I were all hopes and feathers.
A year ago all we cared about was flight.
(I’d read the story of Icarus. You’d think I’d have known better;
but then, I’ve always been a kamikaze kind of girl.)
and the light broke us apart. The aeroplane of our bodies sputtered
Gravity betrayed us: we fell,
we fell into the sea, and came unmoored.
We drowned there, somewhere,
but we were not the only ones
who did not surface.
(My sadness could not breathe,
and something of me died along with it.)
The thing is—when you’re obsessed with flight, you learn too late
your bones are not hollow like a bird’s.
Your body was made to carry things.
But what you carry, you may yet never hold—
And when you lose what you meant to bear, you learn things.
You learn that some things cannot be
It has been a year. There is no sadness left in me.
The sky looks so much colder now.