By Despy Boutris
There’s more to do even on Mars than in this tiny town. This I realized young—the same winter my mother taught me how to embroider and I practiced on fabric scraps and then on the palms of my hands. In those days, I spent day after day in my water-warped tree house, watching the planes fly overhead as drizzle sprayed from the rainclouds swelling in the sky. They looked like they were steaming. And how much I ached for the power of flight—not only because I knew I’d never again have to wait my turn to see the prize-winning pig, but also as a way escape the fourth grade, my father’s fists, his broken-glass bawl, his I’m the one who brought you into this world, and I’m the one who can take you out. This city so scared of the dark. And as raindrops freckled my face, I launched paper airplanes from forty feet up, hoping they’d make their way to another planet. That same winter, I saw a single-engine plane fly into the sky, only to fall, the smoking thing descending down like a meteorite, some farmboy learning the hard way that he’s no pilot, that this is a place none of us will ever escape.
Despy Boutris’s writing has been published or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, American Literary Review, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, The Journal, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston, works as Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.
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.