Mahlika Hopwood

Issue No. 19 • Spring 2018


All night, she stared into the cracked glass,
the single flame within
telling stories she could not pronounce

—and she imagined
what might be coming
down that road—

men and women angling into asphalt,
dressed in tarnished plates,
steel barrels slanting into sky,

the clamor of cadences
rising and rolling
toward a constellation of human forms

ground up in the gears
of an ancient machinery.

And she wanted to cry—

When morning came
she walked out to the road beyond the window,

not to hold a sign,
but to be a sign,

a direction speaking itself out.

Beside the monochrome march,
her pale skin was ripe with color.

But what she had imagined
was not waiting down the road.

No—it had come to her.

Cresting a corner,
the engine and the gears,
metallic and elemental,

broke open her seeing eye,
sent her body scattered
over stained cement and pavement,

her form, a shattered rainbow,
left to recollection,

where we kneel gathering
the shards that cut our palms,

knowing that we too will be translated
into some needful colors
beyond the spectrum of this world.

Hanging over earth
there is a bow like a back breaking—

into light,

an iridescence,

heard more than seen,

like the voice of a child wailing—
in beauty, in pain.