Loren Yelluas | Art by Anoushka Banerjee

  1. set

“Join hands, everyone.” says Teacher. 20 linen-gloved little hands find one another and squeeze under a smiling blue sky patterned with tufts of white. Unobscured sun spills over the grassy platform, forcing the children to squint. “You have been in preparation for this day your entire lives,” She begins as the childrens’ shadows stir in the grass, “Very few children have had your resources and opportunities, your support. And many of the children who have, did not possess your devotion or dedication to The Academy. Through sacrifice, passion, and most importantly, faith in the good people that have worked tirelessly to bring you to where you are, you have completed your studies,” She pauses for effect, “You are ready.” Teacher smiles wide with her alabaster teeth, but keeps her eyes on the sky behind them. 

She claps, and the children move on-cue into their practiced formation as She stands, hands still pressed against one another. Teacher’s teeth gleam at them as her gaze shifts from the vast blue emptiness before her to a passing marble-white cloud. She considers it for a moment, then returns to pretending not to hear the children mutter counts, “… four, five, six, seven, eight…” as they step carefully into two angled lines following the border of the platform. The lines meet at a point in the center, like an arrow or migration of geese. Above, the cloud is growing, joining up with the straggling whisps left behind by inattentive winds. 

Teacher looks down at the grass where the head of the arrow stands. She thinks back decades to the inaugural class. Theys had not been granted real sky or sunlight or cliff. They had had a warehouse, and Teacher, before she was Teacher, had carried a heavy backpack filled with tarp that snatched her out of the jump before she could catch the wind. Teacher then landed 50 feet below and was greeted by an opportunity: to join the Academy and find salvation for the human race. To send Earth’s last hopes to the higher plane: To put children in the sky.  The sky-ceiling of the warehouse had been painted just as blue then, but showed not a single cloud. 

The children are still now. They look with glassy eyes from each other to the sky before them, weighing gravity against faith. Counting their breaths, they watch as the mass of white stretches further across the sky, thickening. They are in place.

She brings her hands apart and to the sky. Sun flashes between Her fingers, and She proclaims the words:

Heaven lies

In feathered eyes

Of pious and perfunct

Your earnèd right,

The harrowed sight

Through clouds, a burning sun

Leave your hearth 

And God’s Green Earth

In Palingenesis, take Flight  


  1. jump

You twist through clouds, you’re upside down

The world keeps spinning, round and round

To live is above, and life is below

Gravity shifts and pulls you in tow

You’re falling! You’re flying! You’re drowning in air!

You’re plummeting upward, a sparrow ensnared

Behold the Sun

Rise, dance through blue

Pull over under, wrapped in you

a flash of light, the burning star

night is coming, earth is far

Heaving clouds encircle wind

White-to-grey; sunlight rescinds

a Break, a Thrash, a wetting squall

down your gullet thunder falls

Feathers pill; arms flap left right

The sky is dark, your head is light

wounded, winged, sliding down

and yet bellow you see no ground

Raindrops trail and disappear

upward, downward, all but here

Eyelids fill with the color of sky

white blades burn your shoulders wry