people continue disappearing

into pinholes and the anchor

on tv is vomiting tragedy

after tragedy into our living

rooms. show us war, show us a girl 

below a tangerine toque with cherry 

cheeks who walked into a park 

and never walked out. twisted

light shoots glares at our tv screen

through the blinds, so we turn it off. 

there are people wading knee-high 

through tragedies without off switches. 

I am over-drinking on weekdays 

in a ripped dress, sway left right on 

tottering heels. how sweet to live

with only minor blemishes of grief

on a life already 24 years old. I’m sure,

like that earthquake, I’m due any day

for something to ache 

inside me hard, rock that safe feeling 

right out. one day I’ll look back 

at how I stewed careless in foamy 

baths, steam cherrying my cheeks, 

letting my toes age 

to the tread of junkyard tires, 

how I’d rinse off problems so small, 

they would drain with the water. 

Halle Gulbrandsen is pilot and writer living in British Columbia. Her work has previously been published in The Antigonish Review, filling Station and The Garden Statuary.