by Elissa Favero

February 12, 2018

By morning, feathers had settled lightly in the corners of the bathroom. They swept up into the air, though, as I moved past. Down, up and down. One brushed the nape of my neck as I stepped from the shower, and clamped there to damp skin. A torn comforter; a small domestic catastrophe. And now a dryer door that won’t close and an interior light that stays on as if to signal unceasing emergency.

The day before, we wiped and swept, erasing the bright arcs that showed our usual paths around the bed and set of drawers. Our semi-regular routine makes dust-palace back into upstairs bedroom. But this time, I brushed cinders, too, from stacks of books beneath the open windows. Charred forests had lifted hundreds of miles to scent the air with burning and color it a hazy yellow. At dinner, we sat down to a table laid with ash.

And before that, weeks past, we waded into a brackish bay named Discovery, eager and unsteady on the loose rocks. We had waited for deep darkness, a moonless night. What we found as we splashed was the sky: a sea of stars in the shape of plankton startling into brilliance at every kick and pull of our bodies. We called out to each other, absurd with wonder.

Bioluminescence and ruinous fires and everyday dust and the maddening feathers of birds let loose: the world holds it all.