yesterday my feet rested comfortably on the bar of someone else's chair
and my eyelids slid heavy and the world seemed slow
a graph of survivorship curves glowing blurry on the whiteboard
and then words slid from behind a neatly trimmed white beard
". . . .as our bodies are programmed to die."
as our bodies are programmed to die.
thousands of miles away
one gleaming thought against a murky sky
(that's how i imagine it anyway--murky, cold,
a frantic explosion of lean muscle power
and a body launching into the lake.
he was 17 and in that moment gears somewhere in this world shifted,
numbers were crunched and
some profound device processed the seconds, linking and unlinking them with an automatic, well-oiled certainty
he was 17 and the number on his football jersey suited him like wool socks on winter feet
his stride under the lights a weekly prize to all hungry, bleacher-ed, washed-up life-hunters bundled against october-night chill-streaked skies
they drank hot cocoa and he took three sips of gatorade
he was 17 and his smile
and his curls
and we all hear about hospitals but
this feels different because
he was 17 and suddenly,
his body was just a beep
and his skin turned the color of the walls
first the ICU painted quick brushstrokes across his wrists
then it stopped giving a **** at all
and the water rushed endlessly, heartlessly.
when I shift through memories and
find his seven-year old face in my mind, i remember a gap
where he'd lost a front tooth and i remember sunlight streaming behind his hair
it was valentine's day and he gave me a small smile and a silver charm bracelet in a powder blue box.
i shifted my feet
heard the snap of a binder closing
and all i could think about was
the oversimplification of words
and survivorship curves
and 17 years
piles of numbers spurting from a computer
and an echo of a splash.
this felt strange for me but for some reason i needed to write it. and though i don't like dedicating or even offering any explanation of my poems, this one's different, so i'd like to say that
this one's for MC. he was a boy that glowed--so bright that even elementary-school me, who didn't know a ******* thing about glowing, figured it out.
they're right, man. they aren't bullshitting anyone when they say you were a selfless hero--you were the minute you entered this world, and even though you moved away years ago i remember you with this strange pang somewhere inside. i wonder if you'd remember me too.