A Painting Balla Called Flight of the Swallows

you ask me how I occupy myself
in my dreams
well, if I see one I see the rest
I am not an optimist
mostly I do not understand the work of Futurists
except this one got me on a day
like this
clouds outlined by smoke and sigh
I imagine the flock
I mean, how far can two wings go?
we wear more in this cold

growing up and yet to fall
in love
mother told a story of her best friend
aunty beauty and a lifelong security
guard whom she wouldn’t marry
for fear of mockery
in turn that passion mocked
passing up eligible men years
every winter was to be his last
passing academic positions because she flew
two countries to where he puffed, where he squatted
passing gatherings whose friends she would call up
to abuse and curse that only got better
whenever she could buy the guard
a ticket to puff and squat by her side
no wonder, mother said, she survived
the year of the aborted child
alone again she called my mother
fifty times a day
long after she was terminated
from Chinese lessons to two American preschoolers
and fifty times that day
she kept on cursing his sisters and brothers
for not giving their poet brother the squalid house and
a ticket
on the phone the beauty spat at mother
who sided with fate


Projected Letters is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the best new and established writing from around the world.