Layne Ransom


Our bodies will say goodbye
to themselves and look, they’re breaking

off into millions of baby torches.
This is how I imagine you will walk out,

a natural death that in time
will give back to the fatherly maples

we roughhoused as children.
Or maybe I will be the hand that opens

the last door closed between us.
Who knows. California holds on

to itself while the earth slow dances
alone, the mountains we gape at

on public access television
still wearing their little caps of snow

pom-pommed with goats. There are many
languages we won’t live long enough

to see glare from the signs of family-
owned truck stops. I have been gifted

many treasures in this life—lemonade, Katy Perry
albums, a rooster boogieing in the flowers—

that the churches say are worthless,
because someday they will be taken

from me. I have loved the churches,
so know this: everything the churches

can offer will die or was born strangled
in its own shriveled blessing.

There is nothing wrong with
a beautiful story that ends.

There is nothing wrong with a scepter
in a spotless glass case. But scientists

have revealed that humans need softer
relics to wrap in our flimsy arms,

so I am taking you with me to the city
of infinite wings. We have just enough time,

brief bodies still shivering enough
for these chapels of flame.

We take hold. The fields explode into loving
pairs. The bridge to the rest of everything

won’t last the night. The last time I leave
will necessarily be alone, but our plane

still necks the August clouds. There is no time
to waste—there is no empty square on the calendar

of our arms—there is no keeping matches
from our nation of Roman candles—

now I must bring forth for you my fullest
architecture of light.

Layne Ransom shamelessly loves Sting’s solo albums. Her chapbook You Are The Meat was released from H_NGM_N earlier this year. She is the design editor for Stoked Journal, an online contributor to Vouched Books, and a MFA candidate in the New Writers’ Project at UT Austin. No one can tell her that The Soul Cages is not a good record.