“Harboring Life” by Kelly Baron

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Lace on a towel and sheet from Belozerskii district of Novgorod province, New York Public Library

Half a can of beer
and my mother is reciting poetry
from her youth:

Poor me – I am a grain of sand
on an insignificant beach.

A glass of vodka
sweats in my father’s hand.
“You know what,” he says,

“There are more stars in this universe
than grains of sand.
So your one grain of sand could be a whole
solar system.
You could harbor life.”

Their smiles then were facts.
It will be two, maybe three years
before he reaches out to an old flame.

Today, in that same kitchen,
I light an entire book of matches
and throw it into the sink.

✶✶✶✶

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Kelly got her degree in creative writing from the University of Southern California. Her poetry and flash fiction have appeared in Palaver, Pear Noir!, and Weave Magazine. You can probably find her performing in theater productions around her beloved hometown, Chicago.