& when I’m gone will you hear my journey back ::

         {to the sun}

 this stellar arctic horse who left her star home

     :: {for your songs},

           will you remember me, a runway

       & lost neutrino,
             the runt & ruin

     of her nearly improbable
   kind, who are hard to find

               :: {even within} ::

       themselves, always
         & always so close
           to zero—        will I live on

as I did     {when I was with you},
 thin-punched & often skunned
   in reaching
     for God, an un-
       sweet-rot somnambulist who loved
         too much when she was young,

           will you listen up at the night

   as I tölt & cantor toward my solar mother,
   sonically, all for the light
   years it takes
   to find

& when I’m gone will you still feel my electrons {precocious}
 & the axels
   of my coltish-limbed youth,

that lost-every-fight-right-hoof countenance    I still am
& still {was} & that she punched
from then—

will you forgive me too, matarose,
           dear flailing heart hewn
 since ever-breaking me was
         breaking night
   within you,
       even then—

   & will you hear my high rimshot hours    {that still thin}
     a sunrise into a grace
       note,    my thin-

         ning of gravity
     between two stars that rise
   in a faint galaxy now & ever
   pulling away from this
   world—          even if you’ll never find me

       in some long ago where matter :: gave in
     to life without consciousness
   or want or home-

     will you imagine a world made up of those

::    {matterless}    ::

who don’t know how or when they leave it
like neutrinos, unable to touch such fleshy & atomic
you—     imagine the kind who don’t spend

hours trying to decipher your love letters & prayers, your punishments & rash decisions,
your glass flowers & border fences, nor every single gated tower that crumbles in the end,

how would you ever see us coming, we are here now, when I’m gone.

& when I’m in the somewhere {in between}, will these poems finally be free

to live
as our long
& our un-lost
peculiar velocity,        when

       {I’m gone}

 will you know you were indeed

     made up of disquieting little strings,
     all of you? No matter how

miniscule or easily pushed to the side,
you were always & easily

     {& when I’m gone,}

& when the theories prove wrong      & mystery
is the only, only truth,
will you hear me
in your undying

   endless wonder

       to my own},

as I whisper, a delicate, thin bow
skidding across quark & black hole,

   the ones
   that are within us all, here
   & now    ::    & when I’m gone

         will you promise to live
         for what will come
         after you?

& if now, I tell you I’ve seen them, these secret & not-quite
next of kin,     how they already cherish

   this life of yours,
   this life now
   will you live
   without surrender,
   & promise to hold    {for them}
   one more bloody day
   of imperfect shapes & budding shoal,
   all your doubts & all your mistakes,
   the slipping of fingers
   & off-kilter chords
   outside your control—

Will you not live for the very hours already gone & no longer yours?

Will you not love the freedom of leaving your everything to the next fold?

For more information about this piece, see this issue's legend.

Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of the 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery, forthcoming in 2021 and author of turn around, BRXGHT XYXS, selected as Agape Editions Editor’s Choice (2019). She is a recipient of fellowships from NYFA and CantoMundo. Her poem "Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark" was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, and published by The Kenyon Review Online.

Vernon Boulevard - Jackson Avenue
7 subway stop

This is a stop on the 7 Line Train in NYC where the train goes from being underground to breaking above ground, climbing onto an open-air, elevated track. I'll never forget the first time I took this train, on my way to the 61st Woodside stop to meet someone I'd fallen in love with, a love that would not last but continues to save me in its own reverberating way. I boarded this train in Manhattan not knowing I would see Queens like this, one chilly, early autumn evening, with just enough sunlight to left to see clearly before we fell into night. I hold this memory dear. I will hold it for eternity. It brought me home, for the first time, the first time I'd found a real home anywhere.