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Un Día Ordinario

—Erica Goss

Un Día Ordinario

Afternoons are for dragonflies. They loop overhead,

back and forth above my tiny plastic pond. Four

children are found alive after a plane crash. How

did they survive? Some combination of love and

emergency propelled them, looping back and forth

from the small pile of wreckage, their mother’s body,

grandmother’s voice calling and calling. The dragonflies

hover, reflected on the surface of the pond. They stare

into the distance with their huge red eyes. From above, the

jungle is a flat green surface, sealed against searchlights,

keeper of children. They hide from grandmother’s voice, the

love that calls them back to what they fled. Their

mother told them, “make oars from my body, and float like

Noah.” Forty days in the ark of the jungle.

Ominous, predatory, dragonflies swerve like tiny

planes. It was an ordinary day, just another

quiet afternoon when the children were found, hiding from their

rescuers, the dog’s joyous bark as if he’d located

smuggled goods. All eyes turned to the jungle,

thoughts and prayers like a grandmother’s voice, like a glitchy

unseen embrace. The dragonflies land, wings laced with red

veins, arteries pumping, pumping. Jungle rises like

walls on either side of a path just wide enough for a child,

X’ed over and over by the press of bare feet. How tender, the

yearning in grandmother’s voice. The children, one step from the dead

zone. Their huge eyes. The slant of the afternoon sun.


ERICA GOSS is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2017 Lyrebird Award from Glass Lyre Press. She has received numerous Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations, as well as a 2023 Best American Essay Notable. Recent and upcoming publications include The Colorado Review, The Georgia Review, Oregon Humanities, Creative Nonfiction, North Dakota Quarterly, Gargoyle, Spillway, West Trestle, A-Minor, Redactions, Consequence, The Sunlight Press, The Pedestal, San Pedro River Review, and Critical Read. Erica served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, California, from 2013-2016. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she teaches, writes and edits the newsletter Sticks & Stones.

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