Take Off |
by Ally Malinenko

They are changing my father’s pills.
This is the way the days are marked.
Sometimes, it is the only way I have
to count the heavy march of time,
Except for when I count it by take offs and landings
that I have survived,
the plane heaving all that weight upwards,
as if it were nothing
and not the miracle it is every day.
We measure time this way,
between the trips, the sickness,
the days that start with work
or a fight,
or by sleeping in.
We trod along, we hurt each other
without even knowing.
Some bury. Some birth.
Some pass their old loves
on street corners and look the other way,
breath caught for just a single moment,
tender remembrance and then the quick release of shame.
It is painful to be so close to another person.
We open and close our mouths,
the sound tumbling out. I watch out for snails
on my walks and hold my breath to keep all the planes in the air.
It is all too pointless and sad, I think,
these lives and deaths,
the cold coming still.
I pull the covers around me,
push up against you, the smell of your skin in the morning,
the sleep noises you make, and I wait and wait for the dawn.

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press), as well as the children's novel Lizzy Speare and The Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books). Her novel This Is Sarah is forthcoming from Bookfish Books this summer. She currently lives in the part of Brooklyn voted to have the best halal truck.