Reasons to Stay Alive by Abigail Wang

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Reasons to Stay Alive

breaths like infinity matches, struck again and
again, and

she told me stories of women who stopped
storms with a fist

when the sky opens, pearl underneath, we cry
into our breakfast bowls

because it is morning, because we are weak, because we won’t
say the words out here

we spent evenings digging out the garden with a
wooden spoon

found a yard full of used matches, ends
bitten black

once upon a time there was a fire and a fight, a ground
swimming in lighter fluid

the world, a box of gas. listen carefully, the trees
are trying to speak with you

we sometimes wonder why the past exists
if it fades away

give ourselves too much credit, or not enough,
or not at all

think of barometers measuring the sadness in the air,
and then

think of borders. the edge of the wood. the peel
to the fruit

think of clean nailbeds and moons, soft hands, a
woman rocking herself to sleep

by the end of the day, she’s forgotten most of it.

what is real for her is the lines that appear in the walls,
the aftershock of a lamp

the last two notes of a birthday song, that she hears again
and again

Abigail Wang

Abigail Wang studies neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a poetry reader for Persephone’s Daughters and her work is forthcoming in The Emerson Review. You can find her photography at