once, when the city shut into darkness, they would
have watched the stars all night. he would have named
the heroes read long ago as a child before sleeping and
shouted while racing, knowing the movement of his feet
against earth would push him upwards through blue space
into the constellations to be named for him, become a story
told in sky.
when he would tell her of his longing for the risen earth
rising still. she would say look up. and in the tall line of
windowed buildings he would see the sounding of earth
plates shuddered—the pushing up of steel and glass in
place of burned fire, molten lava. how he would say then
we should climb—imagining how they could rest one foot
on tallest spire of tallest cathedral and move in tiny circles
like the tiny dancer in her glass box, windowed bodies
within become edged gear, motor. in the slow interlocking,
in the tiny motions of circled cycles there would be let rise
collision—repeated, fragmented, into something like
rhythm, like chorus and refrain.
when, during the coldest day in winter they decide they will
go skating, they press their hands together. in their soft
footsteps against the frozen lake, they imagine cracking ice,
sinking below. but in the absence of shapes around them, in
the white-blurred horizon. they do not know the moment
sky meets ground. so, steps now tiny and slow, hands press
together harder, each thinking they will save the other.
Hope Wabuke is a contributing editor for The Root and a contributing writer for the Kirkus Reviews. Her poetry has appeared in Lit Hub, The North American Review, Potluck Magazine, Ruminate Magazine, Fjords Literary Journal, Salamander Literary Journal, NonBinary Review, JoINT Literary Journal, African Voices Magazine, Cease Cows, Kalyani Magazine, Split this Rock and Literary Mama. Her essays and criticism have appeared in Newsweek’s The Daily Beast, Salon, Gawker, Guernica, Dame, The Root, Ozy, The Hairpin, Ms. Magazine online, US Catholic Magazine, The Rumpus, Los Angeles Magazine and The Feminist Wire. A finalist for the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize, she is the author of the chapbooks Movement No. 1: Trains and The Leaving.