Sole Survivor

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |



The first year we married, I spent a great deal of time watching for frost.
I stood alone, unraveling like silk—trying to avoid those tiny roots
that worm into tiny spaces.

What I am trying to say is the world is a stone wall crumbling & I am a quiet
observer. There will never be another husband. In a field outside
Los Angeles, a flurry of emergency

vehicles, unnatural in this natural setting. Green grass, white clouds, men
in hazmat suits, a coroner’s van, blank, wide, wheels pressed deep
into daisy hearts. You are a cherry blossom

prematurely slipping from the branch. I am a weed exiled from your image.
A plane, yours, rests nose down, wings crumpled, scattered across
a berm that rose up to greet you like an enemy,

unrecognized. As they cut away the fuselage, a blade’s edge severs root
from vine. Prayers morph into sobs morph into silence. I can see
the power in that small act,

the desecration of something intimate. I will never live up to the ghost of you.
Our children are neither dejected nor relieved. A soul in exile, I open
my arms out/wide, hoping this is enough

for forgiveness. But you are an identity that is no longer mutable. I am
the survivor/undeserving, stuck with the feeling that I am living
somebody else’s life.