29 June 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 2


Now I understand why. Someone turns loose the winds on me

and I'm a fountain of fire, someone tosses me into the sea

and I float in a boat of flames, someone pushes me under

and my lungs implode like hydrogen blimps. Every bronchiole burns

as I fall to the sea floor. Then I notice, rising above the waves,

a confluence of birds finding formation, v-shaped as they ascend

at the same speed I sink. The air is their aviary, and at some point,

they'll shift southward as if they are coming to save me,

as if the act of being saved is worth more than the hope of it.

About the author:

Elizabeth Onusko received an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Fordham University. She is the managing editor of Guernica: a Magazine of Art and Politics (GuernicaMag.com). Her work has appeared in Poetry East and is forthcoming in the Briar Cliff Review and Coal Hill Review.

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 2, where "Purgatory" ran on June 29, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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