by evan palmer
When the forest fell and landed between our eyes
and every rising column of smoke was a new friend
we hadn’t met. When every home
condemned by you had crawl spaces instead of hallways
we knew we had to escape. We ran toward every star
offered by the night sky and followed every river to an ocean.
Only to find ourselves talking to the same prophet
whose only advice was:
try to think of death as your friend.
We didn’t listen.
We couldn’t listen because our ears were full
of memories and our eyes had been closed
for so long that when we opened
them we were surrounded
by yellow tape. But we knew
we couldn’t be dead yet because the wind
was not strong enough to carry
us across the sea over the plateau
all the way to Moscow where we could finally
look in the mirror again. To Moscow
where we could finally listen
to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”
without having to know how to play the piano.
So we dug past churches, past bridges
and trenches until we met Mother
Russia at the edge of the Baltic Sea
and stepped on the first mat
to welcome us in years. Our tired
ears fell off at the sound of her voice
and we didn’t pick them up because our hands
were full of a thousand poems
that neither one of us knew how to read.
Evan is a writer who is currently an undeclared major at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. He writes mostly for himself and his work will be appearing in the upcoming book project collective of the allpoetry website.
Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor
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.