Burning a Wallflower
She melted into the wall—
a Black Dahlia
growing from plaster.
contained a secret garden
she vowed to hide from the world,
especially a stranger like me,
but when she caught me burning her image
into my mind
from across the room,
our souls fused
and she had me
drowning in her sea of white
swimming for her emerald islands
gasping for air.
“And then, the Sky Fell,”
and I fell
underneath her surface,
only to die
and be reborn,
Hot flashes or Anxiety?
I couldn't figure out
how the room got so hot, so quick
until I caught him.
Laser Beams can burn a hole
through a woman
if a man isn’t careful,
but he had a way about him
that could pierce
a woman's armor
yet leave her heart unscathed.
There was a darkness
in his eyes
containing all his demons,
but the way he looked at me that night,
made the room
wrap around me
until all the air was squeezed out
and I was gasping for more.
“And then, the Sky Fell.”
and I fell
under his scorching heat
only to die
and be reborn,
© 2023 Chris Sadhill
i used to wander through air
like a traveler through a forest,
eyes closed and mind easy.
and then, the sky fell.
falling through every cloud
and the air rushes by,
tumbling through the moonbeams,
heels over head or the other way around?
there's no ground, just space,
just the smell of sunset like burning wood,
just a touch of dew on newly planted grass,
just the song of the sky - surrounding.
the air's pulling the words out of my chest,
yanking the ribs away to reveal the inside.
is this what it feels like?
the world's so fine from above -
endless space, a million, million miles that don't mean a thing.
i'll stretch the night for you,
wait til it yawns and hold its jaws in my hands.
fill in the gaps with soulstuff.
curled up with your voice still in my ears -
the sky still falling, bit by bit -
snake tongues talking about fire,
bones made of malleable stardust.
all the while the sky's alive,
expanding so rapidly beneath my feet
i'll fall and it doesn't matter where.
When the Sky Fell
I sat on the bed ready for something big. Whenever a girlfriend said we needed to talk and used that tone, it meant we were about to break up. But this was different. This was a twelve year marriage.
We’d just had one of the most amazing summers of our lives. The kids too. Our four young kids. We’d gone to New York and stayed in a room on the 38th floor of a skyscraper. We’d gone to an amusement park in the hills of Pennsylvania with one of those old organ machines, old timey carousels, and wooden roller coasters. We’d gone to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tennessee in the early Autumn when the leaves were orange and yellow like fire. And an anniversary trip downtown complete with fancy restaurant and nice hotel room. And then, the sky fell.
She told me she was gay and wanted a divorce. I tried my best to understand, to be supportive, and she said she’d get a job and be gone by next June. Next June came. And then September and I realized I wouldn’t be able to move on as long as we were still married and I was still in that house with her. I wouldn’t be able to find a life, get laid, find love.
And another June came and I was dying like a rotting vegetable. I watched pieces of my life fall away like flaking dead skin. And I saw the control and manipulation I’d blinded myself to when we were “happily” married. I’d chalked it up to the usual nagging, the usual honey do lists. The usual ball and chain. Only I was locked in a jail cell in the basement of her narcissism.
And I wasn’t able to break free until I found a new house and moved away. I found pieces of life like building blocks. A music open mic here. A poetry reading there. And workshops and parties. And eventually trips and travels. New chances at life. Old friendships renewed. And opportunities for new friendships, and maybe more someday.
I realized the sky falling, the rug being pulled out from under me, was maybe potentially one of the best things that ever happened to me. I’m not quite there yet. But maybe I’ll get there. Maybe one day I’ll learn to hope again.
It couldn’t get any worse
we thought it couldn’t get any worse
hunger and poverty were everywhere
food was scarce
money was obsolete
whatever it took
the world that remained
had been crushed
the unyielding fist
and then the sky fell
of kaleidoscopic light
the devastated landscapes
we looked up
and thought fairies
had come to end our suffering;
and then the sky fractured
like a cracked mirror
the ugliness below
and we understood,
the death of all
how foolish we were to think
it couldn’t get any worse.
Every day on my way to school, I'd pass this house. In the yard, a Mustang slowly decayed beneath pecan trees. After I graduated, I stopped at the house and knocked on the door.
I asked why the car was there, as I'd heard rumors.
Mr. Conner himself relayed the below story, and he proudly showed me the keys in his pocket.
Jimmy graduated high school in 1966. He wasn't a wonderful student, and he barely squeaked by with passing marks in Algebra.
He was a great son, though, and a good athlete.
His father made a bargain with him, and it was simple:
Get a diploma, and he'd get him a job at the lumber mill after school...
and he'd buy him a brand new Mustang.
His dad liked to pretend that it was the promise of a job that got his boy to focus, but he was a realist. He knew it was the car.
Summer came, and with it, a green Mustang. Exactly seven miles were on the odometer when it left the dealership.
Mr. Conner made good on his other promise. Using his pull as a foreman, he got his boy a job working first shift.
Life was good. The younger siblings were all excellent students, and Jimmy was a decent kid. He was a typical young man; he sometimes drank, he sometimes fought. He had a girlfriend, he went to church.
He drag raced, and usually won.
The sheriff himself came knocking on the door one night with reports that he'd spotted Jimmy over on 24, racing again, and he asked Mr. Conner if he couldn't see to it.
Jimmy, almost a man but still under the Connor roof, was grounded. The car was parked under a tree, and Jimmy was relegated to catching rides to work with his old man.
Jimmy resented these rules, and he felt that he was grown and shouldn't have to put up with such foolishness at 19.
His father explained to him the truth of the world, and Jimmy replied that he'd be moving out. Mr. Conner just smiled and nodded, calmly stating that if he left under those conditions, he could leave the car right where it was. Jimmy went off in a huff, and stayed gone for two days.
On the third, the sky fell when Jimmy came home to find his draft letter.
His father, through tears, gave him the keys to the car, and mumbled apologies. Jimmy hugged him and handed back the keys with these words:
"No, dad. You were right."
On that day, he became a man in his father's eyes.
No one ever drove the Mustang again.
In the Hau Nghia Province of South Vietnam, Jimmy met his end on November 16, 1967. He did not linger, he did not suffer, and he died whole; a single 7.62 millimeter round stole everything that he would ever be.
It was eight days before his 20th birthday.
His father fell on black days that never ended. The Mustang became more than a car; it became a symbol of a father's love for his son. It was left parked under the pecan tree, and the keys stayed in the elder Conner's pocket. For thirty-seven years, the car never moved.
For thirty-seven years, a father mourned.
In 2004, Mr. Conner was reunited with his son in the Memorial Gardens.
He was buried with the keys still in his pocket.
A Universal Catastrophe (yet to come)
And then, the sky fell.
Shattered fragments of a once celestial being,
as profound and magical in their colors and shapes,
graffiti the heavenly body above that encapsulates our small, little Earth.
Spitting out as fanatical fireworks on a warm July summer’s dawn,
though, in a lightshow of a stupor of what I had thought was just a foggy morning’s
those stars collided - what a cataclysmic boom!
And the universe collapsed inside of itself.
And as the Moon’s cascading glow had dimmed just mere minutes before,
now the shimmering radiance from the Sun happens to be obscured –
hidden behind dark veils of falling celestial dust
as if one final desperate cry to be saved from the crumbling of eternity.
Time and space are no more.
Creation and existence only seem to be nothing more but calming thoughts.
Secrets and passions shared between the Heavens and the Earth
echo unspoken dreams
that once built the vast expanse of such a universal energy.
Hold my hand, dear friends, and my foes –
a numbing shatter of a reminder
of just how fragile
is the nature of existence.
For in the aftermath of a celestial catastrophe,
we all become the darkness
the sky was swallowed up in the inescapable nothingness.
The situation had replayed in my mind countless times.
Adrenaline coursed through my veins. Heartbeats in my ears, teeth chattering through my skull, everything was in motion.
All second thoughts were out the door. The perfectly-calculated, pored over, theoretically sealed door.
The quill of history in the palm of my hand.
I'd already dipped it in ink.
But what would I write?
Not much longer until I would find out.
All eyes in the world, on me.
Rumbling. Shallow breaths.
Live or die?
"We have liftoff."
And then, the sky fell.
It fell forward.
It fell into me.
I fell into it.
And through it.
And out of it.
Into the abyss.
Face-to-face with the deep, dark ink of history.
Storm and Fall
Your eyes were the sun. The stars are the pupils, hinting at the mystery hidden within. Clouds could never block the sight of you forever, not when the cascade of your hair make up the galaxies above.
Love and storm carry the same lightning, I've come to find. Litchenberg scars streak across the surface of blush red. Agony is the way my fingers trace the pale skin, whispering soft promises and murmured curses alike.
It was only when I looked beyond the telescope that I truly saw you in your entirety.
And then, the sky fell.