When I said I am doing so well these days,

what I meant is I will go back to a humble place.

I will get a job in manual labor, in rugged red

sand and plains towns. My book of instruction

will read, How to Clean a Steam Train. All this,

so I may live out my years to best suit your prayers.

I am working so very hard to be your own tragic saint.

Nightly, I will write you in pharmaceutical ink,

I am sorry for these and so many things. And I hope

you’ll take it like a pill, violet moving through

all of your body. When I say hello or goodbye,

I really only mean, Accept my sincerest apologies.

My penance: to exile myself to avalanche cold

and isolated form, to fall and come down so fast,

so hard, where I liked living near you there too.

And when I spoke silly of my love and awe for you,

please know all I really meant to say was,

I would burn down a city in your name.

Michelle Askin

Contributions by Michelle Askin