APRIL SONNET 2019
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.
OBLIGATORY BLACK HOLE POEM
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.
THE SADDEST THING
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
the city a statue for me, the buildings
paused in stretches skyward, the lamps
not blinking, some sort of
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.