Dear —,

by Rachel Van Blankenship

Dear —,

This is my view from the library. The windows protect me like a ribcage, the books my spine. I am the organs inside, but not the heart. My heart has always been a kite floating unprotected from my body. I'm still un-centered. I think the notion of being centered is a cop-out. Like saying everything happens for a reason. I half believe it. I believe "everything happens."

Planes fly over downtown. From this distance, I could pluck them like errant petals; scatter the people inside like seeds making more people and seeds; play God long enough to believe in him, then give back the gross responsibility.

Phoenix is not nearly as loud as I thought. When you left, I felt so invincible I would have put an entire pigeon in my mouth knowing full well whatever disease-infested shit it had gotten into—it couldn't derail me.

There are no trains today. We never took the train, never noticed the people staring like broken watches. Some ride hoping the tracks will restore lost time. I ride for hours, every day. You never noticed my hands suspending, slowing.

Yesterday, a woman smiled at me like it was punched into her. And a man covered himself head to toe in armor made of pop-tops. We're all in a war, but maybe the craziest people are the only ones brave enough to be heroes? I could use a soda.

Thank you for believing in me, even if it was a lie, even if I'm failing here. What's more beautiful than watching someone burn in her own pyrotechnic life? Maybe that's why so many people live in a city where 100 days out of the year it's over 100 degrees? Phoenix is burning, rising. I pick feathers from my mouth.

Rachel Van Blankenship is a poet and writer raised in Northern California. She studied Photojournalism and Creative Writing at The University of Montana, Missoula, and has recently relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, to daylight as a Features Designer. Her nomadic tendencies also have taken her to Oklahoma, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Her poems have been published in "Menacing Hedge" and "Gather Kindling" and she is working on her first poetry manuscript. Visit her website and blog at

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