The Constellations, not Just the Stars

a poem by Jess Harrison

The snow started falling sideways when she spoke of you.

She pointed to the constellations, not just the stars, said, “Do

you think, if I could have bent my back a little more – he

would of bent me over something greater, than a sink?

”There are no words to answer rhetoric. She stares

at the ceramic angel dangling from a threaded string above

the pine trees. Makes jokes about the harvest moon having hungry

eyes. Laughs through quiet tears.

“I am a loaded weapon,” she says. “The only thing I question, is whether

I am singular, or semi-automatic. I took my finger off the safety and placed

it on the trigger when I realized what it would be like to carry the weight

of his lies around. I never knew it’d be forever.

”The air fogs around us. Our breaths create a castle.

“There are days I think about giving speeches,” she says. “Then I

realize, I have nothing left to say.”

She draws make believe hearts on her paper wrists. The exhale

of ugly truths surrounds us like smoke.

“There’s nowhere left to go to be free,” she says, “when the greatest

prison you face, is in your own mind.”

“He never lied. He never played make believe. That’s what’s so

tragic in all of this. I’m to blame for my own downfall. I’m the single

handed home run hit, of my own catastrophe.

”I watch her walk ahead in silence. There is no lonely like the haunting glow of a city street lamp, traced in silhouette.

I see her drowning in mid air. But how do you catch a fading shadow? What’s the secret for stopping a missile mid fall?

“I feel like Hiroshima after the bomb,” she says. “Have you ever been to Nagasaki?”

I polish my shoes to pick up her broken pieces. I dust off my Sunday best, just in case.

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