An Education

they say/they pat my head
spine tall, eyes clear// I take up space//anyway
But I am Able. To Adore
:a baby phoenix with blue eyes
– sits in ash/the charred remains of golden memories –
the untimely/cremation of a childhood/
a mother who//refused//to leave/
the building and tried/to asphyxiate herself/in the smoke/
scorched hands/too frail
/to hold now/
while the/uncaughtunpunished/arsonist/
smiles, languidly tossing/between sweaty palms/the book of matches/
that child/big eyes see nothing/
smiles up

:the ghost/of a woman
– glioblastoma has stolen her words –
she stares//vacantly//canÕt roll over in bed/canÕt push
we/pull the baby/from her belly/so they can
/pull the tumor/from her brain/and
dadÕs eyes fixate/on this new being/finding pieces of his wife
/the only ones he will be able to keep/
I watch him/watch her die//watch him/watch his life
//end and begin all in one moment//

:the white/white feet
– of a black man –
they dangle off the gurney/his blood/at a standstill
/a bullet/in his chest
we slice him//open//flip his ribs/up and over
a heart in a hand/a walk in a park
a Belmont/a triple lumen/itÕs not big enough

:my own back
– patted from above –
by those with slickglass eyes and teeth/immaculate talons/
/which I must trim/from my own fingers/every day
marble hearts/smiles donÕt touch their eyes/painted goodness
/this i promise/
my face/will crack/
/and I am not saving/I am being saved/
//An education//
in how to feel my own/beat/ing/heart/
/learning to adore/


Ellie Gilbertson, UUSOM '21 calls Buckeye, Colorado home, and received a BA in Biochemistry from Colorado College with minors in Spanish and Kinesiology. Things that make her smile include desert stars, long runs, handwritten letters, and snow.

Rubor Participation:
2020 Prose, "This Cold"