I’m Through by Sara Ryan


I’m through with memory

and everything that was before. each day,


I am more permanently in the speckled


light of the afternoon. the obscurant

dust swarms with moths. the ink-black


beetles crawl up the sink drain and settle


on the porcelain to lick rust. liar, liar—

how could you believe in a dying


tree, the carved-out lot where a house


once was. who told you I was listening

for brick-heavy words in the corners


of your mouth, for shed feathers collecting


in highway underpasses. just once, I want

to tally my losses: the number of birds


living in my car vents, how many pages


dissolve to ash and spine. promise me

you will go ahead into ochre rocks, rivers


that lick at your knees, and not look back.


that you will climb into the sky because

it is beautiful. I feel my throat fill


with mineral grief until it evaporates


into hollow. when I think of dying, I think

of gravity dragging dust across the plains.

Sara Ryan is the author of I Thought There Would Be More Wolves (University of Alaska Press), as well as the chapbooks Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned (Porkbelly Press) and Excellent Evidence of Human Activity (The Cupboard Pamphlet). In 2018, she won Grist’s Pro Forma Contest and Cutbank’s Big Sky, Small Prose Contest. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Brevity, Kenyon Review, Diode, EcoTheo, and others. She is a PhD candidate at Texas Tech University.