What if the branch is
rotted or hollow inside?
With one snap, I could tumble
backwards + tear through the air.

I would be heading dangerously
toward blue + green water
or gray + brown rock
between now + soon.

I could die
for god’s sake.

Then what exquisite freedom
to pierce the atmosphere
as a human knife
preparing to cut open the sky

to pull out its heart.
I see colors before words—

a viable warning in shades of yellow.
The top wisdom teeth pulled,
the Novocain wears off. I pray
I don’t get dry sockets

the summer I swim
in quarries + reservoirs.

New Order’s “Blue Monday”
plays on repeat. I won’t die tonight.
It’s not a Sunday. I was born
on a Sunday. I will die on one.

Blown away + beautiful, I fall
off the porch into the arms
of an oak tree.
No questions asked.


Mahpiohanzia is defined as “the disappointment of being unable to fly” from John Koenig’s The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Also see Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello’s poem “From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.”

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