About the Feature

Photo by Maël Balland on Unsplash

Before there were such small machines,
there were augurs plying their trade
in every paper. Dear Scorpio,
they’d write, the stars are aligned
for you this week, but be suspicious
of promises of sudden wealth.
I spent my dimes and quarters
on candy, and was susceptible
to flattery. I learned to swim.
I wondered where you were.

Before we wore or carried
the small machines that track
where we go, how fast our hearts
are beating, before the machines got bored
and started recording our sounds,
and playing them back for engineers
in bland rooms with good acoustics,

two pines were our doorway;
we walked through them
and disappeared.
The planet I went to was wet and evergreen,
and suddenly I had an accent.

And now we cannot sit at this small table
and simply feed in coordinates,
and say with certainty if or where
or when our paths crossed.
You have to tell me
about the interim,
and I have to tell you.

About the Author

Chiyuma Elliott is the author of four books of poetry, including Blue in Green (University of Chicago Press, 2021). A former Stegner and Cave Canem Fellow, Chiyuma teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.