Abby Bland (she/her) lives and writes in Kansas City. Her work has appeared in Ghost City Review, What Are Birds? and her chapbook, The Odds Against a Starry Cosmos, published in November 2020 with Perennial Press. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @applestoabby.
The sky begins at your feet, she said,
how do you feel about this?
Could you ever believe heaven stretches that far,
that it could come
How many things do we perceive as distant
yet are intimate as taste buds?
sixty tons of cosmic dust—
elements puffed from stars—
filters through the atmosphere every day
into your lungs
into the ground
On the farm,
she has me place
the yellow flower
on my timid,
city slicked tongue.
It is delicate and sweet.
Are you eating squash blossoms or stars?
Orange Mums Again
We moved in together and a building up the street collapsed, obviously this was a telling
metaphor. I would like to believe there is more to poetry than spinning someone else’s tragedy
into my own revelation. However, the truth is you gathered the bricks from that same building
used them to line the flowerbeds in our yard where you planted orange mums, which are a
symbol of optimism and joy, you didn’t know that at the time I’m sure, but I’m a poet and it is my
job to know things and slip them in for the reader like clues. So when, towards the end of the
piece, I flash forward to the next year and I’m living alone, the mums are shriveled and brown
the reader will know it isn’t just the flowers that died.
My family doesn’t talk about pain.
After his wife died,
my uncle drove us cross country
just to show us
the way the sky opens
for old faithful, continuously,
the yellowstone volcano
will one day turn it all to ash.
Then he took us to stand
at the rim of the Grand Canyon:
We could not see
the other side.
That summer we became familiar
with the way the badlands stretch
over the land like scars.
on the side of the trail,
there were small flowers.
How far we drove,
how small the blooms,
opening, like tiny palms,
towards the sun.