“How We Fall” by Salome Kokoladze

Salome Kokoladze


They should have given him a chair to sit on,
writes Michael Jackson’s fan on YouTube. In the video 
Michael Jackson powers through his performance 
despite repeatedly fainting on stage. 

Hope can be ugly. One girl fell in love with a bridge 
and married its model when she grew up. 
Another woman believed she was a chair 
and stood still for hours against a wall. 

I fantasize about sleeping with a weighted blanket. 
It feels like you are being held, a friend tells me. 
Where do people go? Not after they die, 
but when they are alive and well, where do they go? 

I imagine the happy ones. They are opening their mouths 
in search of air pockets under a hot shower. 
They have the eyes of the mother 
monkey that carried her dead baby with one hand 

and with the other ate a mango. All the upright bodies 
fall a little with each step. My grandmother told me 
she’s been to the moon. She went there all by herself. 
And I am the only one in the U.S. remembering 

her name. This makes me slightly lonelier 
than I usually am. Who knows my history here 
unless it’s about wars. I remember the sun 
at its brightest. 

My friend and I at the beach, pretending 
to be Egyptian pharaohs. I was mummified 
numerous times and before that 
I had conquered the Black Sea. 

It was then that the world had slowly started 
to become mine. Imagine that child, her animal-headed 
gods, she is burying her body in sand. Hope is her, 
in that shallow grave, with eyes looking up.

from Rattle #73, Fall 2021


Salome Kokoladze: “Poetry begins with the failure of language. A creature of both the symbolic and the material worlds, poetry helps me reconcile with moments when speaking is irrelevant, insufficient, or unimaginable.” (web)

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