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May 2021

cheryl dumesnil

Make a Wish.jpg

on the fourth day, make a wish

Remind me who I am,

I asked the owner of the sky.


She showed me a rose

formed by cracks in the asphalt.


No, like that, I pointed

to the snowy egret gliding 


inches above the still 

lake mirroring her grace.


I gave you a rose, she said,

folding her perfect blue wings.


because I know how to carry a flame

Sepia, jaundice, no—

bathwater after 


the last dusty child 

has been lifted 


and wrapped.

A meteorologist 


drags her pen 

across the stratum: 


smoke layer, fog, 

smoke, cloud layer, 


more smoke—

and it gets harder 


to imagine 

robin’s egg, 



iris, sea glass, 


the nose of a plane 

pushing out


above the gloom. 

My eyes—who


insist they know

something about 



with the effort 


to draw in 

noon’s light. 


If depression 

were a color . . .


Cornea, macula, 

retina, lens.


How much longer

can this last?


Even the headlines

are dealing in 


rhyme: foreboding, 

orange, smoke-


choked skies.

I study the candle


flickering on my desk—

black wick anchoring


its tiny sun,

like a thumbtack


skewers memory 

to a map. I will 


my body to welcome 

its glow, to carry 


that shimmer 

in my cells—for as 


long as it takes

as I did you, Love, 


all those years 

you were gone.

CHERYL DUMESNIL's books include the poetry collections Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes and In Praise of Falling (University of Pittsburgh Press), the memoir Love Song for Baby X (Ig Publications), and the anthology Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos (Grand Central), co-edited with Kim Addonizio. A ghostwriter, editor, and writing coach, she lives in Northern California with two teenagers and her wife, Sarah. WEBSITE. 

KALE CHESNEY is a queer photographer and designer living in Portland, Oregon. A visual storyteller, they received a BA from University of Santa Cruz in Printmaking and Photography. They grew up in the country, collect cameras, and avoid cilantro at all cost. WEBSITE. INSTAGRAM.


(Image credits: Kale Chesney, by kind permission of the artist.)

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