sky, 1904

i am riding a ferris wheel and i can almost reach the sky
but i am afraid of heights. i cannot sit idly, i will fidget
in the most subtle of ways. i will hide how scared i am
of the ground down below that i would not even dare peek,
that i am as much a hostage of fear that i would not share your fascination
of the open sky, the wind; i think too much of how
gravity would have my head if i had too much fun, and forget.
do you know? you should know: the mildest swing
could give me a heart attack. i would sweat, i would feel
light-headed, and i will want to forget that my feet
are not where they’re supposed to be; several breadths below,
in relative safety. i would fidget in the most subtle of ways,
but i will try. because maybe, maybe because,
while i am afraid of high places — high places make my head spin,
make me lose my train of thoughts, easy. i would hear
the rushing of my heartbeats, with imminent pain so close that you actually hear it
as ringing in your ears — while i am afraid of high places
i am not afraid of hands, a pair of extra hands to hold me
and tell me that it is fine, it is relatively safe and that
i have a bigger chance of dying in an airplane crash
(which is not true, by the way, because i don’t ride planes that much —
but it’s comforting all the same). i will fidget
in the most subtle of ways. i fear heights, after all,
and it’s not that easy to make that go away, but
i am riding a ferris wheel now and this is practice,
and it will be easier, because you will take me with you
on your frequent visits to the sky. you fear no height,
and your willingness to take me there and say
“everything will be alright” makes me actually believe
that ferris wheels are worth it, and heights can be fun.
i can almost reach the sky. i can almost,
and i will try.

— A. P.

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saudia

ships sail on your freckle-misted eyes,
between them, messages come and go.
and i am like a meek litle errand-boy
in your presence; shy,
yet overly conscious
of spaces between your toes. why,
i am close to falling in love with a metaphor, and i
have already given up on fate: only yours, these hands,
and oh captain my captain, your wish:
my command, and more. i cannot wait i am agitated i’m excited i will die
but yours is a slow shore,
the winds being reminders of
how far we can ever go,
and oh,
how gently they comfort me.

— A. P.