Requiem for an Unseeable Gravity by Lauren Mallett


The trouble is words.
I don’t say what we’ve built around us is breaking.
I don’t tell him the birds aren’t migrating like they used to.
Instead I worry about the roads, progress, E. coli, and its helix tail.
In a novel a woman lists what she has loved about the earth:
fear of heights, Nebraska sky, coffee, wind. I believe her,
and I believe Duane rode into the sea on the back of his horse.
Loved the earth but could not stay.
Like Dalva I prefer undiminished consciousness,
but sometimes being awake is so goddamn exhausting.
So I installed a sunset on my computer.
The blue lights living there slowly f.lux. Is what
the program is called. That is, the screen palette yellows
in steps. Second-long shifts meant to mimic sundown. There
it goes so that supposedly my light receptors can calm.
I tell him this, while perched on a picnic table
on the bar’s back patio lit up for mood. The Buddha sits
next to a truck tire. The only ceiling is a ladder,
its one end fastened to the roof’s edge and the other
to the plywood fence. I curl my hands around the bars
just to feel how loose. How the unfinished rung
shifts in its dowel holes whichever way I pull.


LAUREN MALLETT was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her poems appear in Tupelo Quarterly, Smartish Pace, Barrow Street, Sou’wester, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from Purdue University and is the recipient of scholarships from the Indiana University Writers’ Conference and the Indiana Writers’ Consortium.