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The Day I Went to Omelas

by Sarah Terzo

Honorable Mention, Poetry, Create | Encounter 2019

The sky was blue, but it should have been black

The day we drove to the clinic.

People are walking, eating, shopping,

They don’t know that it’s the devil’s hour,

the heart of night on the last night of the world.

We pass the public pool.

I roll up my windows

so I don’t hear children’s voices.

I try not to wonder. Who would she be?

They made me put my phone away.

For privacy, so we can’t take pictures.

As if anyone would ever, ever want

to take a picture in this place.

So I won’t hear it.

The last-minute text filled with promises

Are you still there? Did they do it yet? Oh good.

I changed my mind. I want this baby.

It doesn’t matter. I know it won’t come, anyway.

The needle stings, the dark unfolds its wings

I flow like water, away, I never see the man with the knife.

But, that’s wrong, of course, they don’t use knives.

Suddenly, I’m curled up

knees to chest, hands to face, thumb to unformed lips

heart beating in an ancient rhythm

keeping time with the greater pounding,

as I drift in a formless sea.

Sometime later, in the real world

I’m being driven home

down roads newly paved, all roadblocks gone.

I’m fine - Except there’s no rain.

Rain should be falling.

from the empty sky.


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