Angie Macri is the author of Underwater Panther (Southeast Missouri State University), winner of the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and Fear Nothing of the Future or the Past (Finishing Line). Her recent work appears in The Carolina Quarterly, Harpur Palate, Jet Fuel Review, Lake Effect, and New England Review. An Arkansas Arts Council fellow, she lives in Hot Springs and is teaching at Hendrix College.
Images of Space
The bottle held pills, buttons, beads, the smallest shaped as stars
not like we’d draw but as captured by telescopes, covered with beams.
I wanted pills but wasn’t sure what to take until I saw the label
marked with purple ovals the size of children’s thumbs.
The counter where I poured the bottle made some colors hard to see
as granite absorbed the tones of the contents, especially the stars,
which were spiked like fractures in the stone. We’d been sleeping
in the last town for miles, as is common on the plains. I knew an old code
so there was no paying. We went to swim then sleep for just an hour
or two as night was too hard for driving. You fell asleep
almost right away, but I took longer. Two men were talking
from the television hung in the corner, almost as one voice, so loud
I thought rest impossible, only to find myself waking. More people
had come in the room. More were outside waiting. We could go on
if I could take the pills first in a place with enough light to avoid
swallowing stars that burned like burrs or buttons removed
from strangers’ coats and blouses or other purple pills large enough
for horses. We knew the sun was coming, that the road crossed plains
that had begun to ebb and fall. We could see well enough now
and wouldn’t fall asleep while driving. We were spilled on the counter
where we did sleep even though it was polished stone.