My chart is half full,
        like a blood bag, a juice cup, a pregnancy test.
This is to say, a life half over. It is time for a matinee intermission.

Does the lavender bush in my dining room
know when half its leaves are gone?

The fishhook I swallowed as a child keeps pulling me up,
to another world—one with light, heat, sovereign, unlimited.

My son teaches me how to multiply fractions with an array,
teaches me new pronouns.

I hide in the shower doing squat thrusts
to repair my growing belly. My hummingbird heart
feathers in my chest.

My daughter backs into the neighbor’s car–
confesses over a coffee table of water stains and smoke
thick like a 90s beer pub. She gets off easy. She doesn’t know
what she doesn’t know.

Einstein said to imagine a sphere of knowledge.
Inside the sphere is everything you know, outside the sphere
is everything you do not. As knowledge grows,
so does the surface area of the sphere.

I understand crisis now.
The circle of responsibility so large.
The more you control, the less control you have. 

It’s enough to pull the parachute,
cut free, pull the backup chute,
cut free from that as well,
        and meditate within the fall.

Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash

Trapper Markelz

Trapper Markelz (he/him) writes from Arlington, Massachusetts. He is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Childproof Sky, a Cherry Dress Chapbooks 2023 selection. His work has appeared in the journals Baltimore Review, Stillwater Review, Wild Roof Journal, Greensboro Review, and Passengers Journal, among others. Learn more at