We’re in an age of black holes & burning

cathedrals. Fifty-two acres of trees,

gone. How pathetic we look battling

fire, powerless—a match in the sea.


When the spire falls, an audible groan

the news anchors comment on again &

again—how we watch online, on our phones,

from miles & miles away, the end


of a historical something. A dawn

too, though. The Paris sun sets, but a light

in galaxy M87, drawn

from radio telescopes, brings new sight


to eyes turned towards belief that what’s out there

is worth a first look—or a final stare.




I stare into blurry orange light cradling space

while the dog toys with a baby cricket. 


when I crush it beneath a small piece of paper

as to not let it suffer & hear its weak crunch,


I wonder if I should have just let it be— if

without me, it could have lived somehow. 


She’d pawed at it, nails across the hardwood, 

took it in her mouth & spit it out, 


watched it limp across the floor. The hugeness

of a solar system, how a black hole


could be close enough that we could create

a pictorial representation of it based on math


& science, contrasting the trifling existence of an insect,

a dark writhing spot on the floor—I want to say


something about the dichotomy of the distance

between galaxies & the insect’s smallness, but I can’t


stop hearing that crunch, can’t stop staring

at the first black hole humans have ever seen, 


murmuring something just as blurry about truth.


if I shouted it would be something

stupid like I wasted this outfit,


a white noise to the wind, cars

on a Saturday. I had this idea earlier


to walk up & down up & down

up & down the stairs up &


down until I couldn’t or until the front door

opened & the weather poured inside


or the house

stood still,


                 the city a statue for me, the buildings

paused in stretches skyward, the lamps


not blinking, some sort of

staring contest.


                          I’m frozen on the staircase.

I’m the drone of an overhead helicopter.


no one told me that love could be so limiting,


so uncheerful. no one warned me 

that a single firework exploding 


in the February sky could be the saddest thing

that happened all winter.

Kimberly Ann Southwick is the founder and editor in chief of the literary arts journal GIGANTIC SEQUINS, which has been in print for over ten years. Her most recently chapbook is EFS AND VEES (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015). ORCHID ALPHA, her current manuscript-in-circulation, has been a finalist six times, including for the 2018 Moon City Press Prize in Poetry and Elixir Press's 2019 Antivenom Poetry Award. Kimberly lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and is a PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She tweets at @kimannjosouth; visit her at kimberlyannsouthwick.com for more.

Kimberly Ann Southwick