Explore UAB

BPR banner large
BPR banner large
BPR banner large

A. E. Stallings

BPR 48 | 2021

What if it wasn’t hell, it was only sadness,
And your mother never came looking for you, never
Put the earth on hold, calling your number,
And your husband only wanted to cheer you up
With a handful of ruby arils, a lead-crystal
Flute of bubbles that struggled to reach the surface;
What if the pit bull with squared heads was just
That old black mutt who only yapped at ghosts,
What if the ghosts were just insomnia,
A way to never rest in peace, what if
The winter came and went and came and went,
And the spring was out of whack, and that had nothing
To do with you, and the flowers weren’t lamps
Or bridal torches to solemn you into the darkness;
What if the darkness was only the curtains pinched
Against the sun in the bedroom during the day,
And what if the corner’s horror was only the shadow
Of a coat hanging by its neck from a doorknob,
And the woolly fog that scumbled out of the river
Was a way of seeing carried inside your eyes,
What if the meadow of sweets was the worn world
Whose beauties would outlast you, until they didn’t,
What if your alarm was just the alarm,
What if, all along, you were free to go?