on the day they let me out of the psych ward you vomit in my car
by J. David
sing me that song again
where i want to die and you convince me
to stay. considering the circumstances, i want to find myself again,
not so much sick, but open
-ing an automobile from the inside-out
portions of myself—the soft soles of my feet on hard gravel, a casket
filled with lilies, the lies we tell
to keep our loneliness safe. i could say
anything. anything at all, and you’d never hear me over the wind
-mills. certain implications of tenderness corroborate the story
of the tortoise making its way
past coal-coughing chimneys while intent
on water. i chose you for this reason—the bright birdcalls and faucets,
half an acre of milkweed to butterflies,
a canticle of collarbones ringing through the glen.
i knew you like silence. or the crooked teeth of temptation sinking into
the quiet alteration midnight marks upon the body when i am a shell
of myself. look at me now--
dancing across some bridge between decembers.
i had hoped to be dead by now—somewhere in a wildness of my own making.
tell me i saved myself for you.
for the purpose of gripping your hair by the stem
as you vomit yourself into the backseat of my car, my sadness growing soft
with whispers, saying look--
how stupid we all are. so young and afraid of our lives.
collapsing at every reservoir. fiddling with the leaves. still holding onto
kerchiefs soaked in anger. figure me out, love. my heart is only this big--
a pomegranate. i’ve been saving it for you.
J. David is a Ukrainian-American writer living in Cleveland, Ohio, where they are an MFA candidate in poetry at Cleveland State University. They are the editor-in-chief of Flypaper Lit and serve as chief poetry critic for the Cleveland Review of Books. Their debut chapbook, Hibernation Highway, was released from Madhouse Press in 2020. A Baldwin House Fellow and member of The Sad Kid's Superhero Collective, their work has appeared in Salt Hill, Muzzle, Passages North, The Journal, and elsewhere.