“How To” by Aaron Burch

How To

by Aaron Burch

Remember the myth of looking directly into the sun. The milk cartons cut into a makeshift periscope. Remember your brothers and sisters having to turn away, their eyes too weak. Forget their fall, the push, the fact that that was the last time you saw them. Look up to the sun and ask if your strength is a gift or a curse. Push up, out of your nest, and fly toward it, past the caladrius, feeling for a brief moment a kinship you’ve missed, you’ve thought was gone, you’ve thought wasn’t possible. Feel the heat burn away your outer layer, as if a film had built up over time and you hadn’t even noticed, then tuck and fall. Plummet. Past the caladrius again, past others trying to follow its ascent, and crash into the water. Feel new, cleansed, reborn.


Aaron Burch‘s chapbook of short shorts and prose poems, HOW TO TAKE YOURSELF APART, HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF ANEW (from which the above work is taken), is due out in January from PANK. A novella, How to Predict the Weather, is due later in 2010 from Keyhole Books, and he edits HOBART. The work above was originally published in Sleeping Fish and is reprinted by permission of the author.

About Okla Elliott

I am currently an assistant professor at Misericordia University in northeast Pennsylvania. I hold a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University, and a legal studies certificate from Purdue University. My work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, The Hill, Huffington Post, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, A Public Space, and Subtropics, as well as being listed as a "notable essay" in Best American Essays 2015. My books include From the Crooked Timber (short fiction), The Cartographer’s Ink (poetry), The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (a coauthored novel), Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems of Jürgen Becker (translation), and Bernie Sanders: The Essential Guide (nonfiction).
This entry was posted in Aaron Burch and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “How To” by Aaron Burch

  1. Josie M says:

    Beautiful, thank you. Happy 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s