'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
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.