All I Know of Heaven The magnet holding our photo to the fridge lost its grip sometime today or yesterday or tomorrow. In it we are gap-toothed and barefoot, and I can see it in my face grinning up at you from beneath my kitchen-knifed bangs: you light the sky above my small world, you are the star our entire family orbits – all of us reeling through black since being sucked into the gravity of your supernova and spat out the other side in the time it took to blink away the blind spot that camera flash left mirage-ing in front of my eye. But we were those kids once – shoulder to shoulder, immortalized in film. No matter the endless space between us now. I have been stumbling upon breadcrumbs like these more and more often, keeping them in my pocket: a Stealie sticker on the napkin dispenser at my table in some nowhere-town bar. The brooch I wore at your funeral popping off my purse strap, the rubber back rolling across the floor and into oblivion so now its sharp point bites my finger whenever I reach for my wallet. I call them signs. Faith, after all, is a choice when the answers to all the questions that matter are written in code I cannot cipher at least from this side of the veil. So yes, the dead hear our thoughts and they send us buttons and pebbles and spools of thread like little raven’s gifts through a hollow in the universe’s infinity-ringed trunk because that is what I choose to believe. The truth? When I speak your name into the ether there is no answer. Just a burning in my chest, which could be a symptom of smoking since I picked it up again. Or the particles still floating around in an outline of you left behind in this world like a footprint in ash. Collecting like champagne bubbles around my heart bobbing in Grief’s chipped crystal flute like a bruised strawberry. All I know of heaven is there better be one. Because you have to be there. You have to be somewhere.
Madison Gill (she/her) is a poet from Montrose, Colorado. She received her BA in English from Colorado State University-Pueblo. She is the author of chapbook, Casualties of Honey (Middle Creek Publishing 2023), and winner of the 2021 Cantor Prize awarded by the Telluride Talking Gourds Poetry Program. Her work appears online or in print with Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Twenty Bellows, Beyond the Veil Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Sledgehammer Lit among others. Madison lives with her fiance and their cat in a tiny home in the Uncompahgre Valley of the San Juan Mountains. Find her on instagram @sweetmint_poet