by Catharina Coenen

The picture in third-grade science illustrates wind strength as smoke rising from a chimney: Straight up equals calm, a zero on the Beaufort scale. One is a curve, two an angled trail, three a flat streamer. I frown. “Where does the smoke go?” “Away.” “Away, where?” “Into the atmosphere.” I imagine the atmosphere as a snow globe, smoke as ink. “The atmosphere fills up with smoke?” “No, it goes away. The wind dilutes it out.” I think of the car, the way my father’s cigarette exhales white drifts, the way they curl, disperse and fog, the way my stomach pushes upward in the curves, the way I cannot hold my breath. Loneliness equals queasiness beneath the sternum, a sense of falling as you fail to grasp “away.” —   Artwork by: Sergio Cabezas