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According to our scholars, the newly birthed Milky Way

was rhinestoned with souls, which proved the soul's

existence. The lifeguards, when asked, said they'd tasted

the hard candy of the soul when they tried reviving

an ocean victim. But we'd always been suspicious of souls.

We knew they could escape because we often heard

their hooves, the slap of their tails. They'd wander off

at night and when we'd wake, we'd feel emptier,

our great finned souls swimming against the current

and further away. We'd cover our mouths when we laughed,

when we yawned. Once they broke out, souls were just a nuisance

to coax back. There was a trap of words the poets had sugared

and we'd take classes to learn how to enunciate without sounding

desperate. When they returned, we'd have to swallow our souls

like the pit of a plum or a vitamin. It could take several days

to feel enriched, to see the sky in the puddles again.

Thirty-Seven

Sue Goyette

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