High Altitude Conveyance



Dear Lord, please forgive me for wanting

to measure everything against what it was like


when new. For wanting water

clear against my skin and not cupped in grout


on bathroom floors. How I deprive myself

of oxygen to catch a flicker of Your face


projected onto the clouds. The metal frames

of the Ferris wheels clicking like cassette tapes.


My body suspended in a carriage

on a continuous loop. The loop as cat’s cradle,


VHS tape, a single belt

pulled by a bouquet of spinning circles


around which the painted cars become beads

in an uninterrupted rosary. Dear Lord,


I’m not even Catholic but I love the feel

of rosary beads. By this I mean I love


the thought of counting, which is not that different

from naming. To point to something


and register its abundance.

A mental checklist of what exists.


A man standing in a doorway holding a long piece

of studded leather or plastic


may or may not be a father, may or may not

be a kind of reckoning,


guttural utterances in the throat.

Heavenly Father, I’m trying to understand acceleration


and how the changing speed and direction

of a belt approaching skin wasn’t enough


to unlock my potential or make me love You,

which is why the scientists turned toward height.


When you can’t see the person across from you,

look up. What Jesse learned


on his uncle’s bathroom floor. How an extension cord

is the tool of a small man. He never


played with dolls again and never talked about it.

Father, forgive me for wishing


an end to all things perfect and spinning.

Fourteen hours is a long time to go


without water and at the end of this ride

I’m mistaking Your face for a smudge


on videotape. The one where I’m screaming

through the sprinklers, grass stains everywhere.


The one where no one is crying

but everyone’s wet.

Ting Gou is the author of the chapbook The Other House, published in 2016 by Blue Lyra Press. Her poems can also be found in the Bellevue Literary Review, Best of the Net, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Superstition Review, Word Riot, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a collection inspired by The Centrifuge Brain Project, a mockumentary about a fictional experiment in the `80s and `90s in which physicists built impossible amusement park rides that prolonged the experience of zero-gravity, with the hypothesis that exposure to these weightless states would unlock human intelligence. This summer, she will be moving from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Houston, Texas, where she will be a resident physician in psychiatry at Baylor.