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.
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.
& for six seconds
i believe it.
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.
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.