THE EDGE OF THE CONTINENT
I've come the edge of the continent now. Bitter blue
bells pepper the air. Down and down the cliff plummets,
then leagues and leagues, and at the bottom of the ocean
the huge shadows of sea panthers pace impatiently.
The keepsakes we carefully selected have long since
been left behind. It only takes losing everything to realize
there is more to lose than you could ever imagine.
The food my mother gave me was gone
in the first week. My traveling companions were gone
by the end of the next. I have spent years of nights asleep
in wet caves, and if anything I am now even more afraid
of the dark. When I was a child my sister sat on the floor
with me and told me stories of dogs who'd rather starve
to death than make a hard decision, sooner go insane
than go home. My father told me stories of my grandmother
in heaven, watching us, as he philosophized more and more
with age. I've never needed both stories as badly as I need
them now. I have been packing my whole life without even
realizing it. The dog and the old woman I never knew perch
on each shoulder, as the carnivores sickly circle below. This living
is far more vivid than I was led to believe. It hurts like being alone
and it presses outward like eating pickled animals, like babies
who need to be born in all the wrong places, like take
it out of me, take it out, take it out,
let me hold it.
Lily Uribe is a writer, a singer, and a psychologist. She received her BA from Kalamazoo College, lives and works in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and plans to attend a graduate program in clinical psychology. She feels blessed to be surrounded by a close circle of unflinchingly loving family and friends, who are her deepest source of support in all of her academic and artistic endeavors.