Max Ritvo

The Blimp

I thought, above my head, there was a blimp
and its opened body
trailed chains covered in tacks
and hoses, some of which inhaled
and some of which blew air.
And I thought the blimp was fate
and the shadow it cast
made the rest of the world burn
so I would stay in the shadow.
And I thought the world was growing
craggy, everywhere glittering
with dry chalk, and all the animals
were drying into chalk
but the shadow went down,
down, and I was in a wheelchair
riding it down and my body was swelling,
my stomach and limbs
swelling, and I was asked to describe
some letters chalked on the wall
but making sense of them
was difficult, like my mother, so I loved them,
and many years later, in the spreading
serenity, there was no place for this,
so my last friend died
and humankind
focused all of its energies
on the building of a great tower.

Max Ritvo's debut collection, Four Reincarnations, was published by Milkweed Editions on September 30, 2016. Max Ritvo (1990-2016) wrote Four Reincarnations in New York and Los Angeles over the course of a long battle with cancer. He was also the author of AEONS, which was selected for a 2014 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and the Boston Review, among other places.