we are hanging upside-down
and this is a crude picture,
with our legs pink and bending,
and your zero mouth:
the dirty carpet floor; dusty, where you
left your shape.
and those flowers by the window, with the curtains
like gas – holding them there
oh! sweet life, replacing the
burning incense. forgive us.
salut marie, mere de dieu, prier pour nous, les veux.
murmurs in the dark,
like teeth touching and changing in the night.
in the morning we had bristles on our hands,
our necks were wide,
now the roots from our lungs are purple, but the sun
hasn’t even arched his back –
and yet our ancestors were surrounded
with that oxygen,
like living in water.
beneath this gravity and
aridity there’s the incense and your flowers,
and all of our friends flowers,
everyone we know.
Based in Midlothian, Marion Cline is currently a junior in high school. This poem was inspired by the tragic events at Ghost Ship, a warehouse that was home to the Satya Yuga artist collective in Oakland, California. During a concert at Ghost Ship on December 2, 2016, a catastrophic fire resulted in the death of 36 people, including several of the performers.
Illustration by Paul Hostetler