Leaning on Heaven
I was twenty-four, stunning
and still alive watching the attendants
shut the compartments above, harder as they neared
then disappeared. No one was ever safe.
Going home? asked a woman
as old as the blue velvet covers of the seats.
The city crept away beyond the windows.
Lying against the headrest, I opened my hands,
Home is for people who are ready to die.
Not a minute after, the woman is asleep
with closed fists. Soon she is gone like the rest
inside the cabin without the deepest sound
of the engine. I am weak
from missing what I know is gone.
EJ Koh has appeared in World Literature Today, TriQuarterly, Southeast Review, Pleiades, and Columbia Review. She has been featured in Flavorwire's 23 People Who Will Make You Care About Poetry and Culture Trip's 10 Americans Changing the Face of Poetry. She accepted fellowships at Kundiman, The MacDowell Colony, Napa Valley's Writers' Conference, and Vermont Studio Center. She earned her MFA at Columbia University in New York for Creative Writing and Literary Translation in Korean and Japanese. In addition to lecturing at the Richard Hugo House, she is a visiting scholar at the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Portland Community College. Her website is www.thisisEJKoh.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)