by Anna Sullivan
an ode to the flesh that curled around his bones and beneath a boat
an ode to the flesh stretched across the pavement like smashed berries
i swear i never knew what he looked like
except for a picture in my head
in the picture he was gentle
and his eyebrow arched with confusion
and he never wanted to hurt anybody
i would be lying if i said
i am not inspired and i am not impressed
and i am not curious about the ghost
when it slipped out, was it allowed to go toward a light tunnel or a dark one?
or did it cling to where the colors were simple?
you know, the steamy clouds above Boston, they turn pink every night come April,
well i am ten stories high now and i can lick them,
open my windows and prick them, rainclouds, erupting—
how about my flesh that stretches across one year?
how about my fear, which i swear is a deep black lake, which i would jump into
if i were noble and brave and pure
how about the fear he dove into, did he never resurface?
could it rain down? could it cover us as we sleep?
pure warm dark tenderness of nothing, of no pleasure, of no dream—
that oblivion we cherished, could it wash us?
i’ll tell you one truth:
if you look deeply enough into bright light or darkness
you wont be able to see a thing
an ode to how badly he wanted to escape
an ode to how badly we wanted him to stay
could we be the overturned boat? could we be swimming?
could we have conceived him as a pure black lake?
and no, we never wanted to hurt anybody, did we
it’s spring again
we are twenty years old
and we would be lying if we said we wanted to watch anybody die
and we would be lying if we said we wanted to stay inside our own bodies