Light Above the Stratosphere: A New Poem by Shaina Clingempeel

In our dampened lake-side spot,
hidden by a ceiling of ashen pines,
we stuffed ourselves inside our souls
to fall in love. In a bed of earth, of ice,
and frozen land, we found a chilled delirium,
light above the stratosphere, propelling upward,
unhinged within a hell we called our heaven.
With coffee mugs colder than our limbs,
we sat in wait for the earth to shatter
so we could make it. For shards
of glass from that fishbowl cave
to soar through the air,
come frighteningly close,
and evade us.

The renegades of time
in a private universe.
Where the dirt, the grime,
the memories were all the same
spare parts to shake loose.
On the edge of understanding,
we found the skin we wore
was inescapable; it stretched
days into decades as we marched on
to fight for ecstasy, to waste our days
in want of wanting.

Never to know what went wrong
when we loved this life before
we lived it, when all we needed
was the dream, before I saw
a certain harshness in your grin,
an exactness of lines
I had not seen in that darkness;
my dear, I searched for you
to find another morning,
where I was exiled and alone.

Bio: Shaina Clingempeel is an English (Creative Writing) major at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She enjoys reading, writing, travelling, attending open mike performances and watching intriguing films. Her work has previously appeared in Boston Poetry Magazine and Thought Catalog.


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