Some Things Will Never Happen

waiting outside in the hall
where my friend’s orchestra practices I hear the choir

of Glendale Community College cantillating
gratia plena           rehearsing its harmonies

over & over & it has not sounded perfect yet           on the beach
earlier I let the sun burn

its music into me just a little
let my body relinquish half

its whole note of winter coldness           I lay in that brilliance
too long thinking how I do

not know if my flight tomorrow will reach for
land gently or if I am at an age

to reasonably believe
that some things will never happen

to me that the plane won’t burst into flames
I do not believe he ever will

but sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind being hurt
by the man I love if it made me more sure

of the war in him & this also seems like something
only someone who is young or wrong would think

last week my sister dragged a woman
from a smoking belly up SUV

while two men stood at a safe distance & watched
the woman waited in her blood

& my tiny sister
five foot one & one hundred & ten pounds

wriggled her like a newborn through
a window before the vehicle caught fire

in shock she blessed my sister & prayed
to Mary & the men

murmured amen           there is still sand in my ears
my hair my shoes my teeth & eyebrows

& I have been trailing it all
day like blood as if someone following me has need of it

as a navigational aid           when my man says never
I believe him        when it comes time for me to be full

I want it to be of grace & I want to sing gratia plena &,
I want the dissonant chord & then I want it

to coil like a tendril like a muscle like a fist
& stay motionless

Linnea Nelson received her MFA from Oregon State University, where her mentors included Karen Holmberg, Jennifer Richter, and David Biespiel. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in RattleFourth & SycamoreGold Man ReviewThe Adirondack ReviewSan Pedro River ReviewTule Review, and Tribeca Poetry Review, among other publications. She is Associate Editor for Cloudbank Books, and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and two sprightly cats.