Then Sappho Resolves Not to Plummet into the Sun-Painted Sea like a Seed

︎︎︎ Kari Flickinger

︎ May 28, 2021

Again, you remind me it is not about time
travel but alternate dimensions. Nobody says
aloud that they think I am reliving
the television set. As it is

about to fall off a cliff into the sea. Waves
rear up in the coming gray. An apex.

Shells dismantle below as I loose hymns into
prognosticated winds. The sun
-set phases out inside the dwelling—a stone
rough-tumbled in its stranger bed.

I dreamed I was back home, dreaming
of distance. Nebulous fire jaws
opened above and I swallowed to fit
an excursion of vowels. I howled
bearing ribbits that sieved the plate
-windows like light. Lamps
trapped in the most comet-sized
boulder. I edged

my unsteady body to meet
the lip of a sudden balustrade.

Balancing above these unresolving dunes

I interrogate—if I lived
at his edge here—my lungs would fill with salt
every day. A blade cracking glass chalice set fine
above the rented doorway. The displaced ocean
would serve as my reminder—this is how

to roll in deep glass edges. How to refract against
sidelong glances. The marled
little wonders of no yesterday—today.

Some quieter me says she should have
just ended it—bellow into transient steep


above. As if I could fall up. When that cliff
delves into the great below, I imagine
it will be just—some unreliable
glimmer of paradise—annexing another cetacean

Kari Flickinger is the author of The Gull and the Bell Tower (Femme Salvé Books). Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the SFPA Rhysling Award. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley.