A Widow Learns About Mars, Molten At Its Core

Even now, is it possible to consider the self-original: the source

from which something arises?


Nothing solid after your death, one hour in that loss-space equaled

seven years of earthy life. Grief unoriginal and shocking.


Learning that Mars is quiet and seismically stable,

oddly reassuring. The silence inside of me

after you died. My thin, rigid outer layer, my lighter

volatile elements. Maybe,

I was not alone.


What trust is required to stay behind,

to hear good luck close by?


Like me, my new lover returns from near-empty space where sound

could not be heard, where atoms and molecules could not carry

our voices through air or water.


Now faith follows the sound

of our original music, wounded and delighted.

Amy Small-McKinney’s chapbook, One Day I Am A Field, written during Covid after her husband’s death, is forthcoming with Glass Lyre Press. Her second full-length book, Walking Towards Cranes, won the Kithara Book Prize 2016. She was the 2011 Montgomery County Poet Laureate, judged by Chris Bursk. October 2021, she co-taught a workshop with poet Nicole Greaves, Poetry & Aging: Does What We Have to Say Matter? at the virtual Caesura Poetry Festival. Small-McKinney resides in Philadelphia where she was born and raised.