I am trying to live my ordinary life like an astronaut or an orchestra conductor, open to the complex music heavenly bodies make. I want a dignified life but too much of ordinariness is indignity: standing in line, cleaning the toilet, railing at the tv while politicians grind kindness into the earth like spent cigarettes. All I really know is this: birds still fly through the ordinary air, while inside my breath fogs the glass.
Application Letter #2059
I will be your workhorse. I will pull a wagon full of bricks into town and let the neighbor’s lost toddler play under my belly without moving my dinner-plate-sized hooves once.
If my co-workers and I are fireflies trapped in a jar, I will lead them all out the one big-enough hole in the lid and fly for all I’m worth, and if I can’t
I’ll keep mixing chemicals as long as I can to make the light last. I won’t wear myself out pulling and pulling on the rope attached to Idea
when the well is surrounded by thirsty people. If it’s simple water we need, I’m your river-daughter. I come from another century, so I understand your need
for historians; but I grew up reading science fiction, so I’m prepared to lead time-travel tours as well. I’m worth at least enough
for one trip to Switzerland, the cold mountains lying on their backs while I watch them through a picture window dangling my feet in a hot tub. Won’t you
please let me be your taproot, your sword-of-the-moment? I’m no star burning hot in someone else’s galaxy, glittering to make you drool. Here’s
what I am, honestly: I’m the one too busy looking where I put my feet to notice all that flame and gas moving over and past us both. I’m the one ready to tend the wounds of those who got too close, who trusted too much in bright indifferent objects from the sky.
-- Katherine Riegelis the author of Letters to Colin Firth, which won the 2015 Sundress Publications Chapbook Competition, and two books of poetry: Whatthe Mouth Was Made For and Castaway. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Brevity, The Lascaux Review, The Offing, Orion, Tin House and elsewhere. She is co-founder and poetry editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection.