Fall 2016 / Issues / Poetry / Poetry 2016 / Volume 47

He was everything to me, for a brief, blazing time in my life–Nicholas Twemlow

in memory of my cousin, Finn O’Neill

We can begin the process of brushing
Hong Kong from our shirt folds
As it flakes into our wonderful
Futureless past. Some kind
Remark you made on my elegance
Really stuck with me & I’d like to think
Everything changed, but nothing
Ever really does. That’s so tired
A position, your Mum grieves,
Your sister disbelieves,
Your father turns over in a box
Aflame in the Philippines.
All the world’s ablaze right now.
Except, of course, it’s not.
It’s been thirty years since you
Flew in & the life I had yet to live
Had yet to falsify
Continues to record. All this
Data busting the seams.
There was your smile,
Etched into the mantle above
The fireplace, it talked
Me out of so many
Worries, but the worries
Always came back
With the speed & clarity
Of a wolf’s howl under
A harvest moon on a t-shirt
In a truck stop. Who are you,
Anymore? Dust?
Your mother fetal on the floor
Next to your bed? Your sister
Tearing up her house
In search of anything you might’ve
Touched. How did you do it,
Isolate flower, this method
Of self-annihilation? I mean,
We all do it in some way.
I just brushed against a pedestrian
With my car he was plugged
Into his soundtrack walling him off
His phone throwing so many
Voices at once I felt nauseated
After he walked off the curb
Into my path I didn’t
So much brush against him
As smashed him so hard
There was nothing left
Over except a palm’s worth
Of gold dust glinting in this
Smash of sunlight
So specific to the Midwest,
A day like this, that is,
When anything has happened
So many times already.
I see you, Finn, deep in mind,
Glowing at your edges
Like the astral I don’t
Know what else did I not
Know about you besides
Everything, but I am certain
Your Mum & sister
Are emptied out no matter
How prepared they’ve been
In withdrawal from you
For so long they shake
So violently
They appear still.

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