[Into The Long Night]

[Into The Long Night]
by Carrie Bennett

Expedition Notes 12

[Into the Long Night]

I’m learning to live on air alone. At altitudes
over 30,000 feet the blood thins to hypodermic
needles, the breath becomes a rusted-pump
that continues its mechanical rise and fall. The
body keeps going like a line of burnt grass that
extends into sky and wind, whatever cliff waits
ahead. Forward, forward. The path straight,
then not straight. At altitudes of 52,000 feet
strange birds call down from tall rocks. All
the trees are ash. Lightning sharp as metal
splits the cloud-banks. Then no sun, no moon.
The sky turns to cave-darkness. 

I’m learning the old ways of illumination.
Whale fat burns thick and heavy in this
temporary shelter hooked to the side of the
mountain. I hang here, a precarious cocoon. If 
I fall, I fall.

Carrie Bennett’s first book of poetry, biography of water, won the Washington Prize. Her two chapbooks, The Quiet Winter and Animals in Pretty Cages, were published by dancing girl press, and a third, The Affair Fragments, is forthcoming. Her poems and flash fiction have appeared in Boston Review, Caketrain, Denver Quarterly, Fairy Tale Review, Small Portions, and elsewhere. After attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Carrie began teaching at Boston University. In 2012, she was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship and was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes.