“According to Inuit culture in Greenland, a person possesses six or seven souls.

The souls take the form of tiny people scattered throughout the body.”

––Annie Dillard

Small islands drift below I’ll never go there and Look the Norwegian

                   seated next to me on the plane says Swollen the moon he means is

full and alive as the snow below hazy as powdered sugar melts on my tongue


We are flying overseas I am a fireman the Norwegian says to me

                   flexing his biceps and Down there he adds She skis Greenland

his English so broken I am not sure if he dropped her there or wants


to forget her like the burning rooms he enters but his lips are opal

                   are full he takes my hand and pulls me toward the window we look out

and I am inside the night Michael and I ran through snow deep in


a forest where the moon set between branches made the night not black

                   but indigo I couldn’t keep pace the drifts locked my knees

but Michael was a gazelle so fast he leaped and reached the cabin first


still running looked back laughed his mouth open wide as ecstasy and

                   flew straight into a glass door that shattered

he turned into shards sliced into his body his face like a snow flake


glitters though one big shard shivered so deep into his bicep a round

                   blue muscle fell out steaming into the cup of his

hand so when I reached him the snow at his feet went red the world


went red shafts of light from inside the cabin lit the dog who watched

                   from the window as we looked at each other and said nothing

and Michael calmly put the living thing back into the slit of his arm


the way the sky calmly puts the sun inside itself each night the way

                   Michael who came out and was disowned by his family

calmly put himself back into death last week I heard he cut into his


wrists and was found alone in sheets soaked red a note said who am I

                   when I am not wearing my body but that night we ran

his insides spilled out of him and he was not afraid and in time I lost


touch or do I mean I never touched him I just left him like an island

                   there is no way to hold everyone together no way to put

a life back into the world once it leaves us afloat Michael I am finally


flying over Greenland but it is gone I mean it is not close enough to touch

                   I think as the Norwegian leans in his muscles safely contained

inside his skin and asks me knowing What is it you are so afraid of living


Francine Conley is a poet, performer, and director. She has a chapbook of poems, How Dumb the Stars through Parallel Press (2001), was a founding and active member of Franco-American touring theatre company, Le Theatre de la Chandelle Verte 2001-2014. Over the years she’s written, produced and performed eight one-woman multi-media shows in English, including her most recent, The Narrow Road (2015-16). Her poems, interviews and reviews have appeared in such journals as: The New England Review, Juked, Shadowgraph, The Adroit Journal, American Literary Review, Avatar, Palaver, and The Collagist. For more on her art: