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Imagining Heaven

makes me uneasy and superstitious, so instead I read books
where people understand purposes and goodness,
and am full of wonder. Some days, especially, I know

how impossible it is that heaven exists; I unfurl on the couch
like a fed snake and won't leave the house
until the day is inhaled back into its sea.

As a child, my imagined heaven revealed how basic
were my wants: a red porch littered with projects,
many animals, benign accidents to be tidied;

all movement like ice skating and everyone about twenty.
If there were a heaven we would be given a glimpse of it
once in a while, as we stumble over memories—

on a long drive, a flash comes and we try to reel it back—
wasn't that a dream? Where was that? What a marvel,
how terrible—to have nearly lost that game, that trip,

the buttons on that dress, the grief of that cold water
on that early May morning; his room without pictures,
her jewelry box, that bowl of oranges. I can do nothing

so I put myself in the old heaven, sprawled out
on the red floor. I am youngish, the dog is with me,
I can whistle and do, having left behind this life

in New Hampshire with the car and children.

Alison Powell


Issue 75

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