by Mindi Kirchner
—Sometimes feeling goes so far then quits.—Dean Young
Of all the places for the finger to land
in the game that predicts where you’ll live,
you set down, of course, off the coast of Cuba.
Somewhere mid-Caribbean so you can’t help but see
your tiny head bob in a tube raft
like a teething ring for a school of sharks—
a visual which would upset your Earth Mother friend
who believes in the alignment of chakras
and the imagining of positive outcomes.
But the unevolved ape in you would rather
swing your monkey-hand in the face of this blue sphere,
the puzzle pieces of continents,
make them somehow accountable
for all this undoing,
all that’s undone.
What place is this where even words
can collapse in stutters
down the runway-wobble of windpipe?
Where the only song that sticks in the mind
is the tortured cat-cry
of an orchestra that stays in the fourth grade forever?
Where even the best doctors occasionally
staple the patient before replacing
the faulty organ, and somewhere, you know,
a heart is beating outside of its body,
which describes perfectly
your vacancy on the last morning
with the one you thought you wanted.
When you wrote the words I love—fingertip to
chest—so sidetracked on the bump of muscle
and pink nipple, you forgot to write you.
Then remember leaving, and, almost home,
your little car lost itself to the ice,
circular slip of the tire,
when you had to not steer and to not cry.
And you had to believe there was nothing more
you could do for your life.
Had to believe it would be more than enough
to leave only I love
as your wonderfully unfinished mark on the world.
Mindi Kirchner-Greenway was born in Lancaster, PA. She moved to Youngstown, Ohio in 2004 on a whim and a Bruce Springsteen song. She has a chapbook of poetry, “Song of the Rest of Us,” published by Kent State University Press, and has published poems in Eclipse, Perigee, The Wick Poetry Series Anthology, and other journals. Other than writing, she enjoys teaching, running, Phillies baseball, good music, game shows, and binge-sleeping. She lives on the Northside of Youngstown with her smelly dog, Tank Greenway, and her slightly-less-smelly husband, William Greenway.