A Letter of Adoration | Jeremy Flick
It was late in harvest season, tilled dirt lacking crop
and the scent of Fall air a perfume soaring between the trees.
We were driving to Middletown when you told me
you had never run through cornfields, never ransacked
pumpkin patches for the impeccable pumpkin, never
experienced the Midwest I took for granted. You smiled
when we found a field unplowed, cheeks curled up
in massive dimples like peach carnations. I miss that smile
and your onyx hair—before you dyed it teal—silhouetted
against the tumbling sun. A cigarette sleeping between
your fingers, its dreams drifting through the cracked window.
We pulled over nearby and ran alongside the road
toward the toasted stalks. My childhood anxiety resurfaced
and I warned you farmers don’t like it when people run
through their fields. You didn’t care. A first tentative step
into the mud and you were a child, exploring the world,
falling in love with Indiana for the first time. A feeling
I had lost long before that night. We met in the middle
of the field, surrounded by corn taller than us both. The sunset
irradiated your honey skin. I should have told you I loved you
then, but I only stood next to you admiring your grin,
shadowed behind maize, like a bird who fooled the scarecrow.
I can’t pretend to recognize love, but I know our first conversation
on my back porch bound us together, two barn owls
hooting the same refrain. I can’t pretend to understand why
you made smoking cigarettes look sexy, like Holly Golightly,
smoke pouring from your lips with each word, admitting things
you seldom told other people. I can’t pretend to appreciate
your holy fingers running through my hair and telling me
You’re not alone. But these memories play through my mind,
like a song stuck in my head replaying over and over.
After a Slipknot concert in Ft. Wayne we walked through the parking
lot, my old ’99 Honda Civic fogging up as we plopped in the seats,
wet from the rain. The car had trouble clearing the windshield,
so I thanked you a tenth time for finding Jim’s used guitar-pick.
You slipped off your shirt, drenched from rain and sweat, comfortable
in only your bra, telling me you wished your boobs were bigger. I thought
you looked perfect, skin glossy with drizzle, and the tattoos etched on your back
told stories of where you had once been. I wanted our story on your skin.
I wanted you to drive to Burlington, Canada, and sit through four hours
of needles piercing your flesh, like you did for the tattoo based on The Moon tarot
card on your left shoulder, so you could remember our 3 A.M. conversations
and drives to Middletown. That night was the only time we kissed,
adrenaline fueling our movement, and I only wish now, as I lie
in the Indiana cold, that I would have told you how much I loved you.
Concerning the Dangerous Redundancies of Time Travel | Jonathan Greenhause
One day, I travelled back in time to warn myself
not to travel back in time,
but I didn’t listen to myself:
Eventually I grew old enough to be the me
who’d travelled back in time, so I travelled back in time
despite what I’d told myself.
This time there were 3 of us.
We waited together & spoke about continuum paradoxes
& the impossibility of our simultaneous existences,
but somehow this didn’t stop me:
I reached the same age
& travelled back to where my many selves
were waiting unsurprised, predictably resigned
to our fate of time avoidance.
Soon dozens of us occupied
the same 1-room apartment. We took turns sleeping
& assigned chores to keep a semblance of cleanliness,
the borders between our bodies
slipping through time & space
as if on celluloid reels of what film used to be.
I was everywhere & nowhere & yearned
for the peace & quiet
of when there would only be me
& no other self of mine skirting around my edges:
So I listened to myself but paid the heavy price
of getting stuck in the present.