Review: So Long the Sky by Mary Kovaleski Byrnes

July 4, 2018 sarahjameswrites

Riggwelter

Mary Kovaleski Byrnes, So Long the Sky, Platypus Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-9997736-7-0. £9.00 (including shipping)

HOW TO COLLECT COAL FROM A MOVING TRAIN

While you wait for the whistle, place a penny

on the track. Count the cars

when they blur by, the coal as it flies

out like popcorn. Scramble faster

than the other children—a skirtful can heat

even the flimsiest structure, will make you dream

of islands. From the air over Boston, you can almost touch them.

On each descent, I number their backs,

even the rocks jutting high and lonely,

wishing again for an era of shipwrecks.

For the fogged-out survivors, those rocks

would have been land enough for a hard-scrabble home.

My grandmother made her own rock, her own decades

of lost ships. Slept seven siblings under coats in one bed,

tells me how to collect coal

from a moving train, how to replace its dust…

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