Box by Melanie Dunbar
It was a box before it fell, and if not box, then balloon, full of heavy, and as it floated down it fell, and stories were, and not held back, but told and told and down, cat and girl it fell and green parrot or plant, and shine shine shine and brick, pigeons, or squab if they were to be eaten for Thanksgiving. Or raccoon, because it didn’t fit into the box, or three, lined up in the oven. Box down, it was full of itself, and not much more, but it couldn’t tell, it was taped and taped, and it slept on the way down, because time has stopped/slowed/altered/quickened
and it couldn’t keep up, so it curled up in mid-air. Cord-du-roi, corrugated, insulation and strength, air pockets filled with air and so it floated, and drifted on the currents, like a marsh hawk or a raven, it didn’t even try to flap, even as it felt the tape give way, as its glue loosened its buttons, and it prepared to bare its breasts to the city,
it fell with the grace of an egg thrown at a car, with precision and perfectly weighted, lofting even, and it swayed like the basket of a balloon, or a basket on the hip of a peasant woman; swaying, like a full black skirt over full hips in the moonlight, before the skirt was lifted up and over, or down and discarded, or it fell, also with a life of its own, and was flown from the bed of a wagon, pulled by two horses, and driven by her father, and when it landed, it looked much much like a box that had fallen from the 14th floor in the city,
or a mudhole in the road, or it looked like the space between her thoughts where she would not go, like the pillow her head never rested on, or thought of, or ever had. It looked like the cat/snake/raccoon that had been run over by a wagon/stomped by a horse/ flattened by cow’s hoof, except that the raccoon had stripes, and the skirt did not, not the box, except for the hollow bones between its skin, but who can see that? Even the box couldn’t see them/didn’t know they were there/didn’t want to know, the box didn’t want to know anything, and the skirt?
Why, it knew why it was on the ground, it was a jumper, and the box was pushed, was it killed? It looks like it was pushed to me, and the wagon rumbled down the street, between the skyscrapers, to the edge of town, where the road turned back into gravel, and the wagon and girl lamented the loss of the skirt, and it was lost, lost lost, until the box fell, emptying itself, and landed on top of the skirt.
Melanie Dunbar tends flowers for a living. She lives in Southwest Michigan with her family and their rooster, Mr. Beautiful. Her poetry can be found at Your Impossible Voice, escarp, Sweet: A Literary Confection, otoliths and Gargoyle. Her microfiction can be found at Cheap Pop.