Of Gas and Vapor, by Marissa Ahmadkhani

Caged canaries used to be taken down,
deep into the mines—as early warning signs
for deadly leaks of gas and vapor.

And I guess there were warning signs
of our own ochre death. Of our bodies separated
by a noxious fog and our two hearts slowing.

I would have known if I had listened.
Listened for that strangled chirping—that bird
in distress, lungs full and wings twitching

to a slow-pained beat.


Bay Area native, Marissa Ahmadkhani, is currently completing an M.A. in English Literature at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo. Her poetry has received the Academy of American Poets Prize both in 2015 and 2017. In her free time, she enjoys writing, exploring, and focusing on her musicianship. Instagram: @marissamehh

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