If There Were Parts Like This (June 2000) [from the archives]

I’m reposting a very old poem. I’ve reworked this so many times over. I want this piece to be illustrated. And printed in children’s book format, with a paragraph on each page, rich with visuals. I’m hoping that Sandy and I can one day do that together.


Recently, the sky has fallen
and there have been cold flowers at dawn.

She slipped out the front door
one evening,
sat on wooden steps
in her summer dress
and said,
“I’ve been watching the stars fall.”


It had been a warm summer.
The landscape hummed when it was dark,
allowing silence a chance to be heard.
And it was in those moments
that she would think hard about the dawn,
the cold blue flowers
and why they might have stolen her wings.

She thought hard about other things
she may have said that would cause
such things to be taking place.
“I have been careless with my wings before”,
she said,
“but there have never been cold flowers at dawn”.
Not here.


A few summers ago, she watched a piece of the sky fall,
but thought that it had only been an accident.
And besides, she had her wings, so it helped;
she was always able to catch the stars before they hit
the humming landscape.
It was a busy night.

She hadn’t been getting much sleep.
When evening began
she would slip out the front door
and say to herself “I guess I’ll just sit on these steps
and watch the stars fall, one by one.”
She was clumsy, so she didn’t try to help the recently falling sky,
she thought it might make things worse.
She would just wait, until dawn
and then walk over to where they had landed,
look down at the cold flowers that had replaced them
and ask in a very low voice “Do you know where they are?
My wings, they’re gone, and I don’t know why you are here”.
She cried a little bit.
And walked back to the steps,
thinking hard.
“Sky. Cold flowers. I don’t know.”
Her white shoes were dirty now, from these
walks out to the flowers.
By this time, the sun would be out and she would
feel hungry and lonely.


The kitchen was bright
and full of dusty sun beams.
She ate a plum over the kitchen sink,
and wondered why no one was noticing
what was happening.

“Or, maybe they have noticed.
Maybe it doesn’t matter.”
She realized there was a chance
that none of this really mattered;
because it happened all the time,
and that makes it right.
Something right, and not wrong.
Things happen.

But she was sad.
She couldn’t help but be sad.
She could only whisper to herself,
over and over,
about the falling sky
(long breath—“..the sky. it’s falling.”),
her wings
(heavy—“..my wings.”)

She mostly kept quiet about the cold blue flowers.
She didn’t understand why flowers
could surprise people,
at a time like this.
She wanted to ignore their existence.
She didn’t have time to be thinking
about new (beautiful) events,
she was busy
staying up all night,
worrying about lost and broken things.

She sat down at the kitchen table.
It was quiet, sunlight was moving in waves.
“I don’t know how the story ends.
I know how it started;
I know every absence, I know I was making it go this way.
Now, it’s stopped. Flipped. And, flowers have come
here, they’ve stolen my wings.
Making me sit here and watch.”


She was right.
The sky really had been falling.
The ground was scorched,
but people would just walk by
on their way to work, stepping over the debris:
half lit super novae, spinning stars, even rings from planets.

It was so quiet, and she couldn’t stand it.
There was no laughter, there were no smells,
there was no saving anything.

She walked around outside,
passing over the same things,
and felt split in half.

The flowers
in her periphery
stayed cold and blue –
but she noticed
they were growing.

With the utter of curiosity
she was compelled
to ask the flowers a question,
and with this
the night unfolded into day
as it does,
and she woke with the morning sun
to find the answer.