crystal ball in reverse
Wanting to nap but then I feel your small head weighing on my shoulder. On this cramped night flight, 29,000 feet high with civilizations’ electric stars bursting below, I put my palm on your forehead, feeling eight pounds of exhaustion, buzzing remnants of excitement from seeing San Francisco and touching a stingray for the first time, the giddiness of wearing a gold dress to your cousin’s wedding, and the soon to be sweet relief of sleeping in your own bed. Cradling your head in my hand like a crystal ball in reverse, I see you when your whole body fitted on my forearm. I see you at two years old, half naked with chocolate on your nose, laughing with me just because I was laughing. I see you at four, dumping a pound of colored sprinkles on a homemade birthday cake. I see you at eight, sashaying home from school alone for the first time on pajama day. I see you always moving because you are never still- except now. Me, feeling your warm hair and skin, braced against a hard skull.
Jennifer MacBain-Stephens received a B.A. and a B.F.A. from New York University and currently calls the Midwest home. She has poems published in Superstition Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Red Savina Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Burningwood Literary Journal, The Apeiron Review, Dead Flowers: A Poetry Rag, Star 82 Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, Rufous City Review, Squalor Review, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Untitled with Passengers, Gravel Magazine, Sein und Werden, The New Poet, Scapegoat Review, and Iowa City’s 2013 Poetry in Public Project.