Glass Poetry Press

Volume Five Issue One

Donald Illich

The Door Marked Emergency

We had a language, and it was about dying, the multiple ways we could leave the earth, the cross or other holy symbols we'd wear around our necks, in hope an afterlife would swallow us up, make us a meal of a lifetime. When we saw a airplane fall, we told ourselves, "that could've been us," with excitement and love no one would understand. We couldn't place ourselves deliberately in the way of wrecking balls, or forget our parachute when falling to the ground. Our hands and feet, with strange noises, outlined the parameters, the ways we could launch ourselves into a friendly grave, loving us like a fan colliding with a star, smothering us with questions about the world. In our homes we told our families nothing, kissing clueless spouses as if their lips were wild birds we couldn't wait to catch, hugging children like we had magnetized arms. What they couldn't know was how long we'd prepared for our last exit, seeing as a child the door marked emergency, not believing it ended somewhere terrible, but convinced it freed us into the sky, a spirit left after the demolition, rising to a reward that wasn't a reward but an end.