Walking to church, the birds crank circles in a flat, low sky. I’d like to shoot one with my rifle, drape it like bastard pearls around your neck. I knew I’d fall hard for someone born in May or named it, the way you hurtle towards the heart of something like the ocean deep-throating a plane. Everyone mentions the weather before bad news. Before bed I touch myself and think It’ll rain tomorrow. Everyone misses out. I moan and a black hole opens on my palm. I come to visions of birds dropping from the clouds, gagged by acid rain.


I lost it in an abandoned trailer. It hurt; frost and ash collected on the windowpane. He held down my wrists in case they made wings. His whiskers scratched a rash on my neck, a devil’s continent. Afterward, I stole a cigarette from his soft pack. “It’s like talking to an asteroid, being with you,” he said, pulling on his boots. Crunching through the dead fields on my walk home, I shivered, I smoked, I coughed. Later, I ignored my mother when she yelled at me because of the smell. When I boiled my clothes the next day, my underwear predicted a galloping red dawn.

When they sent me away, the ash fell like snow. They strapped me down and I wanted to run away to Antarctica with you, every morning skating on wild ice. After sex we could lift our shirts, scrape off more fat to burn. Maybe Antarctica is where we came from, the land where we were full. Let us rewrite our origin stories: Me, I was born packed in snow. My mother cut the umbilical cord with her teeth, said it tasted like horse hooves. And you came with crystals dotting your collarbone, a full beard covered in frost. We crawled from our mothers and chose our own names, blue though we were.

Emma Wilson is a writer and editor living in Central Illinois. Her poetry has appeared in Magma Poetry, and she blogs about creative recovery at