Painting by Eric Sorensen

by Tara Mandarano

Anything is possible in an airport bar:
the future a tabula rasa
of pure potential.

All you need to board is a Bloody Mary.

When you said you might not want kids,
all the planes I’d ever been on
fell out of the sky at the same time.

The runway piled high
with metal hearts, dashed hopes.
All the air traffic controllers asleep at their desks.

Then we went to couple’s counseling
to hold hands on a stranger’s couch
and interpret the sound of our blank looks.

All those sessions we dissected our doubts
I was smudging out baby names
I’d written in chalk on sidewalks.

I didn’t take your pain into account.

All I could feel was the scrape of hesitation,
the ticking bomb of my own longing
every time I swallowed a pill
that put everything on pause.

It’s hard to take a leap of faith on an abstract concept,
trade the status quo for the unknown.

But our hypothetical child didn’t used to live
somewhere in the heavens.
He would pop up in everyday conversation,
while we cooked tacos or watched Jeopardy!

He had brown eyes and freckles and olive skin.
He had a name back then.

We called him Mango.




Painting, acrylic medium and fabric dye on panel (2014), by Eric Sorensen. Part of a series exploring the movement of translucent colors.