three poems

by Amelia Martens

And Stephen Hawking is dead and we will bomb, we have bombed, we are bombing empty buildings in Syria, until they are the ghosts of empty buildings, until the ghosts inside those buildings germinate and we read the bodies of human beings like headlines, their mouths split open in words we think are English, because we think, we think in English. And three empty buildings sounds ridiculous, and that is the best alternative we can hope for, in English. Because our irises, are black crescent moons descending swiftly on these fumes: we will bomb, we have bombed, we are bombing people who have blood the color of birds, and Stephen Hawking is dead.     And Stephen Hawking is dead, but the whale still washes up with his belly full of plastic and we still read about it with our plastic cups and phones and shoes and cars all going ninety-five in a sixty-five, and all we are is flashing light. My daughter is not convinced we are animals. My daughter is not convinced time exists; there is little I can do, but laugh. We are surrounded by dark matter and some nights it weighs so much, my heart beats too slowly against the sheets. The ceiling turns into stars. I am falling I am falling apart. My daughter is convinced the piano will continue to exist. As will her fish. And Stephen Hawking is dead.     And Stephen Hawking is dead, and a pedestrian bridge collapsed today in Florida. And I fear death by concrete, probably more than my neighbors. The underground parking garage is always a damp mausoleum and I descend, knowing how many dogs would give up on me; how likely I am to die anywhere doesn’t change my travel plans, but I think about the concrete, the water and rock, and dark matter—I would return as ash. I cross the street and I hold my breath and Stephen Hawking is dead. —
Amelia Martens is the author of The Spoons in the Grass are There To Dig a Moat (Sarabande Books, 2016), and four poetry chapbooks, including Ursa Minor (forthcoming in 2018 from Elsewhere Magazine). She teaches at WKCTC in Paducah, KY and her writing has earned support from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Arts Council, and Rivendell Writers’ Colony. She met her husband in the Indiana University MFA program; together they have created the Rivertown Reading Series, Exit 7: A Journal of Literature and Art, and two awesome daughters.
Artwork by: Valerie Borey
Valerie Borey lives in Minneapolis. Her creative work has appeared most recently in publications such as Rat’s Ass Review, Hospital Drive, Gloom Cupboard, Enhance Magazine, Black Heart Magazine, and Bound Off. More of her work can be found at