A Horrible Calm

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ethans tree swing

Imagine. A light. So bright the eyeballs
of its children freeze, compress into diamond,
and maybe that can’t really happen,
but sometimes I lie to give truth wings. Think

about it. An inexplicable sense
of unity. A fundamental
understanding of nothing. A metaphor
with cut wrists, its breath a roulette wheel
ticking to a halt. I can’t tell you what God

is, but I wish I would have told you
I loved you more often than I did. Now,
I just need a lullabye, a sad song
culling me to rest. Halogen lights

from the asylum across the street
from the room I rent tattoos sleepless
affirmations onto my retinas. Your
puppet hands don’t dangle limp across
my face. Night, keep me strong — I fear strangers,

blinked once and an entire decade passed.
Save me from bad dreams; I am the meekest
sinner in the big leagues, didn’t mean to treat
love as an object, wear this “friends” word

speared between my ribs, a consolation
prize. When I die, lay me onto the green
grass like a boneless Jesus. Fold me
like a poem into your shirt pocket until
the letters fall out of the page like hair.

SALiT Magazine, 2008

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