Gravity

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.

6.

& 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.

5.

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.

4.

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

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

your arm
outstretched
& shivering in the
kinetic midnight air.

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

3.

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.

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

2.

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.

1.

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
there

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.

sometimes,
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 –

0.

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.