FNS: What We Can’t Control by Ellyn Lichvar

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Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative,
poem, spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.

Helen Presents: a poem from Ellyn Lichvar


Arching from sky,
birds wash against
the curbsides.
It’s been raining
all night. The babies
don’t know to escape it
so down they come,
drops among drops,
bodies wrapped
in useless wings
rubbing in the stream
that’s started out front.
The street swells
like a mother
with what it can’t shake.

Inside, in bed, the fan
doesn’t drown out
the sound of falling.
We listen
to the splashes
above the breaths
of our sleeping children.
What will become
of their slender faces?
In the morning the roads
are lined with fuchsia,
purple petals dipping
in damp memorial,
the answers
to all the whys
like quick pecks
on our mouths.


Ellyn Lichvar is an assistant managing editor of The Louisville Review. She also works on the staff of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Whiskey Island, Parcel, The Journal, The Boiler Journal, Typo, and elsewhere. Her poem “Privilege” is featured in our upcoming Animal Issue.

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