To Thought

Alina Siddiqui, Barnard College, New York, United States


Do you ever talk and while talking, suddenly

you don’t know what’s coming out of your mouth anymore,

where did all your thoughts go?

and you stutter and stop.  you don’t know where.

and your conversation partner nods. Saving

you from the humiliation of acknowledging your

probably words,

lost in translation between the oceans in your mind.

Her nods invite you to trail off and


the thought never needed to exist, says the peculiar

reassuring rearrangement of her eyebrows.


My heart muscles are weak, I think

if a cigarette was found between my lips again

I would die on the spot.

so I run on the treadmill.

I start off fast.

trying to keep up with the beating of my heart, I run faster.

If I lower the speed, I’m out of sync.


I cannot keep balance without holding on to

the handrails.

I watch people fly and fall off besides me,

but I can only bear to stain the rubber rail

with the ever-present sweat of my palms,

while my tense rib muscles forbid my lungs

from collapse.

This is enough.


I’ve always wondered,

tell me if you’ve wondered this too,

how long runaway balloons survive

floating in the great blue sky?

I think, the burst

might have to do with pressures,

I’d ask a physicist if I knew one,

where to find one,

how to approach one.

I wonder if this physicist would understand

my want to know

what happens.

to the ribbon, the knot, the shattered rubber,

I wonder if they ever touch land.