Corinna Schulenburg

Fire Escape

I know! The kelp will save us.
Suck that carbon like a cigarette drag,
shed that carbon like ex-girlfriends,
settling in forever fronds on the sea floor.
The sea floor will save us! The sea
made us, it has to save us.

Or maybe the algae will save us!
I read that in The Atlantic I think, which is
a magazine and an ocean, so halfway
for sure to oracle. Those little green guys
will gobble it all up! Hunger
recognizes hunger, amirite? Hunger
is always how you fix a meal,
and what is the earth if not a great big feast
for our birthday, and it’s always our birthday,
and the TGI Friday’s staff is singing,
their badges flashing in the diesel light.

Later, Frieda, who has worked there forever,
Frieda who takes care of the new ones,
(though not so many new ones now,
not will all this plague, and the guests
who bray their mouths like Lampwicks),
later Frieda will be finishing her side work
and a coffee cup will fall and almost
shatter but her reflexes will save her
again, heroic catch, and suddenly the shit day
will glow with a kind of providence.

She’s always had reflexes like that.
Her hands, her arms, have always known
how to reach out and catch the merchandise
before it breaks forever. Her ex-
girlfriend, the marine biologist, with the egg-
shell glasses, called it Frieda’s superpower.
Pretty shitty superpower, she’d answer,
then close in for a salty kiss.

Later, Frieda will smoke on her fire escape
and think about the sea, the ex, the heroic catch.
The drag from her cigarette will taste
like complete salvation.

Corinna Schulenburg (she/her) is a queer trans artist/activist committed to ensemble practice and social justice. She’s a mother, a playwright, a poet, and a Creative Partner of Flux Theatre Ensemble. Poems published or upcoming in Arachne Press,Capsule Stories, Eclectica Magazine, Lost Pilots, Long Con, LUPERCALIA Press, miniskirt magazine, Moist, Moonflake Press, Moss Puppy, Oroboro, Pastel Pastoral, Poet Lore, SHIFT, The Shore, and The Westchester Review 
Twitter: @corinna_schu  
Instagram: @corinnaschulenburg1
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