Monday, February 23, 2009

Surrounded by Sky 090223-1440

Surrounded by Sky

A woman imagines she has cholera and worries she will be eaten by a shark. She fears she will slip under the fence and be swept over the falls at Niagara. When she eats, her belly explodes and kills her and when she flies, she dies in a plane crash. Every snowy car ride turns into an automobile accident and every Ferris wheel collapses when she reaches the top. She collects clippings of people killed by wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, escaped lions, burst appendixes, rabid rats, ice falling off church roofs, infected toenails, knowing each of these deaths is the one that will claim her.

One day, the once worried woman, who had already died a million imaginary deaths, lies dying. Dementia consumes her and she fails to recognize death's teeth at her throat. The reaper pulls the black hood off to his boney face and she only smiles. She dreams she is a child, and afraid of nothing. She climbs the tallest pine in the forest, a cabbage pine with branches like a ladder. Up and up and up and up, like Jack on the beanstalk she ascends, effortlessly, to the tippy top. It sways in the breeze. The sky surrounds her. The treetop bends, then breaks. She should fall. Instead, her body inflates with sunshine and she flies. She flies so high she can see the individual rays of starlight and each has a voice and a song. When the woman joins the song, a terrible rasping pours from her throat. No one at her deathbed recognizes the angel voices in the cacophony flowing like a fountain from her lips.

Mary Stebbins

090223-1440-2c; 090222-2135-1e; 090222-1756-1st

This, in case you can't tell, is a prose poem, which I wrote for Paul Roth, sort of. I may explain later. I think it may be the beginning, or the end, of a new chapbook. YIKES!

I'm doing this backwards, in a sense, posting the latest, newest version on my process blog when I've already posted an earlier version to The Smell of Sun, my poetry blog That was becasue I wanted to post it, unfinished though it was, to Creative Every Day.

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