'Collapse' / 'Longing'

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash


We arrived in sunlight and departed in sunlight,

the summer sky turning pink, turning blue, purple,

black. Summer of meteors and shooting stars.

A collision of stars can cause a black hole – they sink

to the center of the galaxy: a black hole is anything but

empty space.

We waited till nightfall to touch, the daylight hours

spooled out before us, waited for the stars to blink

into existence. The heat of the day still radiated off

our bodies, the thin crust of sweat still clung to our skin.

Lying on our backs, we searched the sky for the shooting stars,

I longed for the tenor of your voice to break the night’s

silence. When Orion appeared, I moved my mouth

to yours, fell into you.

The pressure of one body against another: summer,

waxed and honeyed. Seeking out constellations

and your skin. Thinking about the mystery of black

holes, how you too are beautiful and deadly

and unknown till now.

The bonfire we built dies, the smoke reminding

me of that last, long summer: the kittens born

too early, my sister and I still running like children

through the tall grass, even as my breasts began

to bud. The sky was drinkable, dazzling, white

and we didn’t know that night our house would

burn. If we had would we remember the sun

muted? Would we notice the lilacs, still blooming

behind the house, the air drunk with their scent?

My sister and I in sleeping bags in our friend’s

backyard, giggled ourselves to sleep while

our father watched our house burn, the flames

mingling with the constellations, the only stars

that fell were the tears clinging to my father’s lashes,

colliding and reforming as black holes, a gravitational

pull so strong not even light can escape.

Now in the summer of backyard stars I see our collapse

in slow motion: the brown of my skin fading, the shine

of us dimming, a star dying and collapsing and collapsing

and sinking into the center of the galaxy and becoming

a black hole.

~ Courtney LeBlanc


This week alone I have longed for a brownie, warm and still

gooey on the inside. An extra hour of sleep, the energy to run

another mile, the scent of honeysuckle even though it’s still

too early for it to bloom. I’ve longed for another week with

my beloved dog. An honest conversation with my mother.

A vacation with my sister, a vacation with my husband,

a vacation by myself. A book deal, eyelash extensions. My

husband’s hands on my hips, the perfectly red lips

of the barista when she says my name.

~ Courtney LeBlanc


Courtney LeBlanc is the author of Beautiful & Full of Monsters (forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press), and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She has her MBA from University of Baltimore and her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her publications on her blog: www.wordperv.com. Follow her on twitter: @wordperv, and IG: @wordperv79.

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