Brittany Ackerman: Living This Way
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente


“If you want to see something glorious,

Look at the Pleiades”- Maggie Nelson (something bright, then holes)


I knew you for seven years

in your constellation of Taurus-

six years, I held on for more.


A hot blue heliacal rise- you sailed

to more cities than I’ve ever seen,

places that only make sense in myth.


I stayed in the ordinary world. 

I waited on the porch for your car

to pick me up, the black Mustang.


Your father had bestowed it

as a gift.  You borrowed

my luggage for your travels.


When the tags didn't read

where you said you’d been,

I placed myself amongst the stars


In Marfa, my fiancé points to Polaris.

The mud of a Milky Way separates us,

stretches into black, the other side


of space.  You bought a silver jacket

Wore it to the movies.  You left it

at my house.  I left it untouched for


seven days.  You came over.

You drank all the tequila.  You

told me to stop calling.


I went to the movies alone. 

So many theaters I cried inside. 

A dark room, stellar silence.


I offered you a golden apple to stay. 

I told you so many great stories.

If you want to see something glorious,


look at the story of the cosmos.

I prayed to Zeus- make me a star,

take my body up and into the sky.


Every seven months you send

for me.  I sent back a message

for you to stop.  A distant planet.


In my apartment, a flock of doves

cluster by the window.  I settle

into living this way, living like


you.  Now I will marry a man who

finds me in space. He made me a bird. 

We become a larger bird.

Brittany Ackerman is a writer from Riverdale, New York.  She earned her BA in English from Indiana University and graduated from Florida Atlantic University’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She teaches Archetypal Psychology and Creative Writing at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Hollywood, CA.  She was the 2017 Nonfiction Award Winner for Red Hen Press, as well as the AWP Intro Journals Project Award Nominee in 2015.  Her work has been featured in The Los Angeles Review, No Tokens, Hobart, Cosmonauts Ave, Fiction Southeast, and more.  She currently lives in Los Angeles, California with her first collection of essays entitled The Perpetual Motion Machine out with Red Hen Press.