Gullible’s Travels
by Julie Innis

In the backseat wedged between two older cousins,
they told you if they pressed your bellybutton sharply,
your legs would fall off. 

So strongly this fact you believed
that you sat stone-still, plump legs straight out,
uncertain whether to hold tight to your knees,
or to secure the bottom edge of your t-shirt
so that no errant finger could tease through-- 

Imagine an eject button,
one push and a ripcord
snakes loose from your spine
whips through your hip sockets
and suddenly, like rocket parts jettisoning,
your legs pull away,
your body now a capsule
turning in slow spirals through
sad empty space,
stars and shiny metal,

So many ways for a body to turn,
as small fingers fuse to rib cage,
elbows jutting out, the awkward wings
of flightless birds,

 And so to fall, through ozone,
its taste like pennies we hid in our mouths,
and then the tops of trees, green leaves,
though wood is warmer, it does not give way
softly to flesh, falling still, finally the embrace
of water, molding to skin, meeting again,
 and from below, the sky opens wide
and those stars, so cold before,
now so warmly winking.

Julie Innis' work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Pindeldyboz, LitNImage, Istanbul Literary Review, and elsewhere. She has work forthcoming in Gargoyle.  She was the winner of the 7th Glass Woman Prize in Fiction and a finalist for Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers. She is currently at work.

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