give me the hailing path
rising toward horizon’s storm.
we do not draw
back our axes in isolation,
for, if we do,
death is the only certainty—
the kind of death you think I mean:
not a woman tripping into
the car-filled street, a man murdered by a liver
punch he didn’t see
coming, a boy falling into a well.
hypothesized that a static, unchanged state
was not a natural human condition,
a condition in which we could live communally,
(The ability to undergo constant change is intrinsic
to all things, in all things.)
And Empedocles? All matter
is divined of elements
that are in dynamic alliance
or opposition to one another.
The or is essential to your understanding.
And so it is for ships
to sail, bicycles to move,
birds to fly, people to breathe or walk
or love or live. Just a physiological
phenomenon that leads
to the rare: the moment in which we are alone and not, moving and still,
where we settle into the storm’s eye,
that place where worries and cellphones are silenced and tucked away into our pockets:
a train window by which we sit and watch the world and all its loved ones rush pass—
Winner of Fiction International ’s 2015 Short Short Fiction Prize and Able Muse’s 2015 Write Prize in Fiction, Andrea Witzke Slot is author of the poetry collection To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press, 2012) and a recently-finished novel manuscript titled The Cartography of Flesh: in the silence of Ella Mendelssohn (now under representation), both of which reflect her interest in the ways poetry, fiction, and nonfiction cross boundaries. Recent work can be found or is forthcoming in Meridian, Mid-American Review, Measure, Poetry East, Southeast Review, Nimrod, SRPR, and Fiction Southeast, among others. She lives in London and Chicago. Her website is: http://www.andreawitzkeslot.com