The Distance to Apple, Plastic Containment of Brown-Sugar Oatmeal, Green Tea by Kari A. Flickinger

The clock in the breakroom sways—becomes

a metronome when the train idles outside.

Regret gathers in this

tower—I could crack open

lacquer window to slip down

the shiny corporate siding—slide fast—no

web in the wrist to break—The Fall.

No imagined resonance of a century

before. When did gas lights turn

to fluorescent beams bulbing from this

is-it-almost-five o’clock sky—does the sky

gaslight me into the belief it is

much later than the ever-recurrent clock lets on?

Clockwork-rotation wave-measures—I think

of taking this broken body—of climbing

into the departing train—it flies by in

increments each day—the pulse of a cloud

passing the mirror-sheen—of slipping

into a freezing sea that waits

near the end of the tracks—just a short

bus-trip away—from these clouds—I count

the cents in my back pocket.

But there is no coming back from this Fall

or the sea.

And I only have eight minutes left.

Kari A. Flickinger spent her childhood wandering aimlessly through the mountains of Northern California. She was a 2019 nominee for the Rhysling Award, and a finalist in the IHLR 2018 Photo Finish. Her poetry has been published in, or is forthcoming from Written Here, Riddled with Arrows, Door-Is-A-Jar, Ghost City Review, and Mojave Heart Review among others. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley. When she is not writing, she can be found playing guitar and singing to her unreasonably large Highlander cat. Find her:; @kariflickinger.