Out it comes,
and it’s winter again. She holds her breath.
The aliens haven’t adjusted well. They carry inhalers,
wear masks. State-issued
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
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.