I imagine the worst things happening in air. When he texts me that the plane had to land because it was leaking he is not afraid – he doesn’t realize this is my nightmare made real. I do not fear monsters or reapers or rapists, I could face them, could maybe defeat them. But I am terrified of suffocating. I have too often imagined that lack of oxygen. Or my lungs filling up with liquid, ballooning me into a darkness that lasts forever. Into nothing. My husband tries to make me believe that when he is gone it is only temporary, but I only trust in what I see before me. Survival instincts keep me grounded. I don’t sit with my back to a door and I always choose the seat nearest an exit. Nothing lasts forever, except for forever. And maybe the past, always replaying. Unchangeable. I woke up angry today because I dreamed he left me for another woman who wore lipstick and wanted children. Pregnancy scares me – it isn’t just the shifting hips and the ripping open. It’s the responsibility that threatens to anchor me down. It is the sign on the highway that flash amber and silver alerts, and the way that I drive by it and wonder how many years it will be before that sign flashes warnings about nuclear fallout zones. Not too long ago the Larsen-C ice shelf came loose from Antarctica and I learned that calving is the most beautiful word we have for breaking down or detaching. A few weeks ago it rained heavily and our neighborhood flooded – waist deep in some parts, trash left drying in the streets for days. This weekend we went tubing with friends and now I’ve got bruises from all the rocks I couldn’t see until it was too late. Lately it seems like everything either begins or ends in disaster and I wonder if it has ever been possible to fix a broken thing.
Kelly Jones grew up around Raleigh, NC. Their poetry can most recently be found in The Coraddi, Oracle Fine Arts Review, Rascal Journal, and Reality Hands. Having recently graduated with a Masters in Library and Information Studies, they are currently spending a lot of time filling out online applications and reminiscing about the ridiculously long list of jobs they’ve worked and places they’ve lived. Their summer goals include befriending people with access to pools, spending quality time with their dog (the wonderful Mr. Beaux Jangles), and attempting to keep some houseplants alive.