had best not feel too much. The night train rushes
through the meadow, and its two-step rumbling reminds you
you are alone. When the room begins to spin, it forms
a union with the light. One unceasing streak turned circle.
And you, surrounded by mirrors, go vertigo
in the immense empty between one minute
and the next. Fireflies expand into stars. Who are we
to find in infinite spaces but ourselves? Call it an ostinato,
a vamp. The unchanging refrain of beginnings and endings,
starts and stops, resonates in time like steel on steel,
and we know it. Somewhere, deep in the tall grass,
my hands are still fastened to his, holding fast.
In response to artwork by:
You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies, 2005
mixed media installation with LED lights
96 × 288 × 288 in. (243.8 × 731.5 × 731.5 cm)
Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds provided by Jan and Howard Hendler
*Originally published in Thin Air Magazine, Spring 2012
Jia Oak Baker is the author of a forthcoming chapbook, Crash Landing in the Plaza of an Unknown City (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Profane, Poet Lore, DMQ Review, Likewise Folio, and elsewhere. Jia is the recipient of the 2013 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Award as well as scholarships to the New York State Summer Writers’ Institute and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She has also been granted a residency from the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. Jia earned a Masters in Education from Arizona State University and a MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College where she received a Liam Rector Scholarship. Jia teaches at Paradise Valley Community College and is an associate editor for the educational website www.languageforanewcentury.com.