BY SARA RYAN
when the odds are 1 in 1.6 trillion,
prove them wrong. flash your stripes
in kaleidoscope patterns of disbelief.
kill all the sheep in the village and blame it
on the dumb wolf. make sure a few tourists
catch a glimpse of your sleek, muscled
body. howl through the nylon tents. odds are,
you’re dead. extinct. glimmering in the zoo
enclosure like a ghost. the scientists have drawn
the curtain on you. tear it to shreds.
eat the park ranger raw. give them proof
this time, we say rally, rally win. we condition the leather
until supple. we talk about the men we have lost as if
they had never been anything but lucky to touch us. it’s like
this: the orange peels gone limp in the yard. the glasses, old
and sticky in the sink. the wallpaper peeling like a snake. good
grief, the guns in the closet are dusty and bullet-less. good grief,
the inside is made of oil and liquor. when the chalkboard
turns into a dark swarm of wasps, I have forgotten how my name
denies my body like water and butter. the beads of yellow lifting
to the surface like small, stubborn suns.
Sara Ryan is a third-year poetry MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University and an associate poetry editor for Passages North. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Storm Cellar, Tinderbox, Slice Magazine, New South, Third Coast, Fairy Tale Review, The Blueshift Journal, Yemassee and others.
Art by art editor Michelle Johnsen
Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine, EcoWatch.com, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by AP, weather.com, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at] gmail.com.