national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

A National Tragedy

Olivia Weissblum  • 
Pomona College

On the day the sky wept

             blood over Texas

                   we stood together

             a little apart


Bad posture against

          chalky aluminum fence,

                   braids pulled tight

          and neat beneath the sometimes


Clear and lying blue infinity.

          She turned to me, nonchalant

                   with a whoosh of plaid skirt

          and a click of Mary Janes,


Fixing me with a tepid gaze—

          I don’t really care at all, she said.

                   It’s not as if I knew them.

         My conscience relaxed then


Exhaling through my shoulders.

         Me neither, I whispered.

                   Then she told me a myth

         she had heard that morning


About a human head

         that fell from Heaven

                   and onto the roof

         of someone’s Toyota.


I aligned my toes

         with a crack in the ground

                   and leaned all the way

         forward until nothing


But the very tips

         of my fingers clinging

                   to the metal twists

         kept me from falling.