Poetry

A Letter of Adoration | Jeremy Flick
For AS

I.

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.

II.

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.

III.

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.