Out it comes,
          equinox-crossed
          and it’s winter again. She holds her breath.
 
          The aliens haven’t adjusted well. They carry inhalers,
          wear masks. State-issued
          warnings: Avoid
 
          driving, stay inside. None of this air is translucent. It turns
          and it turns out this city’s in a rut, rated 9th
          overall. #9 Toxic.
 
          She licks her lips, a bit
          Fire Engine Rose, a hint copper. A peach pit on the counter—
          the fruit already in her stomach—
 
          ground up, or bit down
 
          that small core of cyanide
          can kill
          a bird, a dog, a child. Some aliens
 
          lobby congress for stricter policies: to lessen
          the scent of old eggs and black toast. The people shake
          hands, nod and grit
 
          statements about basic chemistry, differences in atmosphere.
          No burning, fire-
          works okay with USE CAUTION. If breathing
 
          is troubled, take heed.
 
 
 
 
 
NATALIE YOUNG is a founding editor and graphic designer for the poetry magazine Sugar House Review, based out of Salt Lake City. Her poems have appeared in Tar River Poetry, Rattle, South Dakota Review, Tampa Review, terrain.org, and others. She is a fan of swiss cheese and polka dots.