by Kayla Aldrich
We met like a car-crash,
an unwavering loop we couldn’t break;
you, lucky you,
managed to limp away.
You gave up a rib to leave,
but I cannot walk from the carnage
when it spells out our names
and wears our faces to watch wildfires gorge themselves.
Standing in the inferno’s gut,
I no longer blister.
I don’t miss you,
but I yearn for hands steady enough
to grip the sun without fear of burning.
Without fear of being burned.
When the stars join my silent vigil,
the north wind stirring up ash clouds,
your voice cradles mine.
Saying this life wasn’t meant for us,
but who knows about the next.
When I return as a field mouse,
trembling under a golden sea of wheat,
and you, reborn a great beast hungry for timid creatures,
will you see me?
Will there be a glimmer of recognition
when you bear your teeth?
Scrape your knuckles against the heavens,
try to blot out celestial bodies who work against us.
You’ll overexert yourself,
and I won’t try to help,
because I know the script.
It’s always the same—
you will not say, let’s go home.
Hackles prickling, air polluted by primal fear,
you’ll bid me welcome to the feast.
Kayla Aldrich is a staff reader at Feels Blind Literary and is a Program Specialist at Read to Them, a non-profit dedicated to family literacy. While her work appears in Variant Literature, West Trade Review, and Pwatem Literature & Art Journal, Kayla is currently writing her first novel.