at a maximum height of 746 feet, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most popular suicide destination in the world. accounting for gravity, it took six seconds to reach the water from the place you jumped.


& with a warm kiss,
you’re gone. six months
after you left
to study physics,

i sift for clues
in research articles
published long before
your death.


as if endlessly grasping
for god’s arm, it
is impossible for two
atoms to touch.

sharing the same charge,
electrons on the outside
of atoms repel each
other. technically speaking,

the closest one gets
to touching something
is hovering just
above it.


i could write
a metaphor for water,
compare the ocean
to god –

in the seconds
before impact, you found
yourself in its image,

your arm
& shivering in the
kinetic midnight air.

to do so, however,
would imply
that you actually
touched it.


the night you jumped,
it was cold enough
for the sea
to almost

freeze. there,
the current slows with
each moment, as if
each molecule

were an interlude
in your own death.
as your palms hover
just above

the water, i imagine
them, still warm,
cradling a birthday candle
between your lips.

a soft breeze.
your breath melting
in the air forever.


of course,
time never really
freezes. only,
the larger an object grows,

the longer each second lasts.
in this space,
i have time to ask you why.
i have time to find your mother.

i have time to write this poem. and
another. and another.
what comes from smoke
is more smoke.

what comes from heat is more heat.
in six seconds,
i have spent years
waiting for your return.


despite centuries of research,
physicists are woefully unable
to explain gravity.
although undocumented,

it’s believed that gravity
has an equal and opposite force
somewhere in the universe.
in this way,

we are never truly apart.
somewhere, a place exists
where the air
does not heat

& the sea does
not thaw &
you are still

as you were once,
wings endlessly spread.
truthfully, Luka,
my pen

is the only force
keeping gravity from
killing you
a second time.

i don’t fight
for extra seconds;
i just write the clock
differently. each day,

i close my eyes &
count down
until, again,
you are right here.

i swear
if i reached out at night
i could graze your arm,

wet with longing, as if
each finger
were a passing wave
on your skin. but just

as i remember
atoms can’t touch,
my hand slips
& again

there is nothing
but moist air and darkness.
even though
i am always disappointed,

i still hope
the ink dries
before tomorrow,
or at least –


ELEGY (ii.)

in an instant
the blood runs

& the eyes shut
& the lungs shriek for air.

you ask how i’m feeling,
& i respond

whatever the opposite of weightless is.
& what a sick & sadistic

symphony silence performs.
how strange a song

held breaths compose.
of course

you reject the music & instead
insist on an orchestra of heartbeats & pressed lips

& i make no sound
except the frantic arrangement of tremors & gasps

like the percussion of
skyline & sea

& you glide your fingers along my thigh
& i wonder

if this is how it feels
to will away gravity. again

you ask how i’m feeling,
& i croak out an ensemble of worship

two octaves above my natural voice.
what a brief & beautiful rhythm lust is —

to chant crescendos of tension
& drown in the downbeat.

i tell you i fear the ocean;
you say you’re a strong swimmer.

we kiss,
& for six seconds

i believe it.

The Law of Conservation in Four Acts

and from whom does God commission light? beneath the sultry embrace of my mother’s fists, the buck’s torso shutters but it remains stagnant. its carcass trails the muted glow of her fingertips, and i wonder under which breath the beast first fathomed its own passing. i ask, and she clutches its horns and her hands tremble and her mouth quivers, and she whispers of the silent, restless elegy of heat escaping the corpse. truly, i doubt the burden algor bears on a beast. 

before dinner, my father methodically strips the meat from the buck’s skin. mother finds comfort in this form of deliberate. the calculated shedding of being to bread // the systematic exchange of warm // to frigid // to sweltering beneath the brisk heat of the grill. the flame’s anxious tremble. the kindling forged from mortis. the outburst of the brazen body and its divine and magic hands. i call it playing God; mother calls it survival.

that night, i read that up to thirty stars explode in a given second somewhere in the universe, releasing enough energy to light the galaxy for weeks. i ponder what strange sort of magic it takes to devour a supernova, and after research, learn that a star’s life ends when it consumes the entirety of its fuel and is no longer capable of burning. crushed by the calloused grip of sulfur and iron, the star becomes so dense it collapses beneath the weight of its own gravity. 

the day you died, 2,592,000 stars exploded somewhere in the universe. i ask God which one he used your body for. i ask God how it feels to be kinetic. he says nothing, but glows.

Synonyms for Flight

departure; an act or instance of diversion (i.e., escape, exodus, passage) [+] exit; an act of going out or leaving (i.e., retreat, removal, withdrawal) [+] the heat preceding combustion [+] the brief procrastination of gravity [+] the hesitation of the flame [+] the margin between sky and soil [+] the interval between dancing and drowning [+] to live on instinct + fear survival [+] to speak static into slaughter [+] to speak chaos into carnage [+] to flee [+] to fire a bullet into wind + drown the shell [+] to be the shell + the bullet [+] to enlarge an aperture so hollow as to swallow (i.e., blood, spit, saltwater) [+] to dub the unknown as heaven [+] to buckle + bend so violent you swear you can touch heaven [+] to touch heaven

from the upcoming album Liquid Smoke.

ELEGY (i.)

i’m told that if you
fold a piece of paper in half 42 times,

the result is long enough
to reach the moon. somewhere

you hover between 33 & 34 folds.
i pleat the first crease.

you enfold me in your arms
divided by the delicate murmur of

electricity & hushed breaths.
the city unfolds

from daylight to dusk.
a car whizzes by.

we never speak of this moment.
i seal the fourth crease.

we are engulfed by the gentle
hiss of the radiator,

the muted hum of the TV screen. you reach for the
power button. i grab your hand.

after seven creases
the paper is too thick to fold further.

i unravel it & see a boy tango
with the space between static & saltwater.

in the margins, i scribble your name —
Luka. Luka. Luka.

the bridge unwinds into music
& then nothing. the car

whizzes by & the city unfolds
from gentle whispers to muted static

& you reach for the power button
but no one grabs your hand. if i were to

fold this into an airplane &
throw it off the Golden Gate,

i wonder how far it would fly.