how mom and I rose before sunrise
that July morning in 1981, and the cotton pillowcase

I clipped to the top of my 6-year-old head
trying to mimic Princess Diana’s cascading veil,

I think about how I pretended my thin night dress
a froth of tulle & taffeta. I remember

the dizzying intoxication of seeing a real live Princess
on TV, how the whole world seemed to bloom

from her smile. I think about that last day
of August in 1997, how I stood rigid, suspended

in the middle of my small apartment in Austin
while images and videos played over and over

sucking the air from the room, from my lungs,
from the earth, how I immediately called my mom,

though I do not remember what on earth we said.
I’m sure it was along the lines of: how sad, so young,

poor William and Harry. I think about the fact that
a bird’s bones are mostly hollow and how their feathers

weigh more than their skeleton. I think about the loss
of feathers, the flight of words, the stink of truth.

Aimee Mackovic is a poet and professor of English currently living in Austin, TX. Her work has appeared in journals such as Main Street Rag and Gravel among others. Her books include Headlines, Love Junky, and A Sentenced Woman. She is writing a memoir about her triple-organ transplant journey in 2020 to be published in 2023.