Plain China

At the Edge

by Colorado College · · Honorable Mention in Poetry
Hollywood, Jonathan Grado · Quinnipiac College

Everything other than the present is terrifying.

We talked about it yesterday on the roof instead of class,

watching unimagined land spread into designated lots,

 

the gutted exteriors of sheds, overgrown lawns of dying women.

You wondered, when they look in mirrors at their faces,

fanned with wrinkles, violent and old, do they think

 

that’s me? Then, tributaries of fences, teeming brambles

of vines and recycling bags draped over porch railings,

waiting for the son-in-law to come and take them out.

 

We were sick with situations. We reached for beers

and things we could hold in our hands. You said,

we are cornered in every direction by infinity.

 

The almost-sun stilling in the halted noon,

we talked of places that used to be our homes

in ways we knew how to remember, about people

 

we’d learned how to describe. Chicago’s grid

pulling its netted chaos at the rim of the lake, you said

it’s like we’re always living at the edge of something.

 

Looking down at the drop, shingles collecting under feet

calloused and angling towards an imperceptible ground,

I thought, we’re wrong. This is terrifying too.

About the Author

Colorado College ·

Eva Nisley recently graduated with degrees in English, creative writing, and philosophy. She likes to explore the ways in which language informs, inspires, invades, and eludes us. She is a backpacker, a mountain climber, and a wanderer. She wants to spend the rest of her life learning new languages. Her poem first appeared in Colorado College’s journal, Leviathan.

About the Artist

Jonathan Grado · Quinnipiac College

Jonathan Grado, from Brooklyn, is a senior graphic design major and the social media director for Grado Headphones. His photograph was first published in Montage, Quinnipiac's literary and arts journal.