Lisa Olstein

(Boston, Massachusetts)

That Magnificent Part the Chorus Does about Tragedy - Poem by Lisa Olstein

There is a theory of crying that tears are the body's way of
releasing excess elements from the brain. There is a theory of
dreaming that each one serves to mend something torn, like
cells of new skin lining up to cover a hole. I'm not one to have
dreams about flying, but last week we were thirty feet above the
bay—this was where we went to discuss things, so that no matter
what we decided it was only we two out there, and we'd have
to fly back together. I'm not one to have dreams where animals
can speak, but last night a weeping mare I'd been told to bridle
wanted me to save her. We discussed what was left of her ability
to take children for rides—how much trot, how much canter—
but I wasn't sure I could do it, having already bridled her and
all. I was once very brave. Once I was very brave. I was very
brave once. I boarded a plane before dawn. I carried all those
heavy bags. I stayed up the whole night before folding the house
into duffel bags. I took a curl from the base of your skull and
opened the door to the rusty orange wagon and weighed those
heavy duffel bags and smiles at the airport official. I boarded
a tiny propeller plane and from a tiny window I watched you walk
back to the rusty orange station wagon. They say the whole world
is warming by imperceptible degrees. I watched the rusty orange
wagon go whizzing by.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 22, 2018

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