Supernova, 1990s By Katie Kemple

Supernova, 1990s

and I can still picture, like a super 8
film, you pulling into my driveway
in your first car, a Chevy Nova, super
like that Oasis song—no champagne,

but you had dark messy hair, glasses
off center, layers of flannel, and baggy
jeans. That sincere smile, so that
my mom says it’s okay to go—

she doesn’t see the seatbelt duct
taped on the passenger side seat.
The glove box door rattling open—
laughing skeleton. We drive, we drive,

take the hairpin turn on 44/55—
park at an overlook next to foreign
tourists, all of us jaw dropped, atop
a mound that ancient glaciers piled high,

then left behind, jagged pyramids
flecked in autumn red. I don’t speak
your language yet, only know that rage
is a certainty I crave. We go back

to your mom’s place, but she’s gone
by then—cancer’s the supernova
you don’t name. My hands dumb
to that level of pain, undressing you

down to boxers, tossing each item
into the valley beneath your bed.
Our geographies morphing
the landscape of your mattress.

Bones and flesh clicking into and
out of space. After,
alone in your
bathroom, wrapped in sheets, I am

a sky of constellations, as the flame
of sunset waves to me behind blinds,
she sinks into dusk.

You drive me home in the dark.
Ancient people once navigated
by the stars. But, I’m only a detour

in this space, saying the wrong thing
again and again, my seatbelt coming
unstuck at every slammed break.

Each time, clicking the damn
thing back into place, less certain

of whether we’re together in any real
sense, or orbiting something else,
about to pass—

By Katie Kemple


Katie Kemple is a mostly vegan person raising two kids, an elder pug, and a carnival goldfish in San Diego. She’s married to the love of her life. Her poems can be found in The Elevation Review, The Collidescope, The Racket, and Right Hand Pointing, among others.

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