Listen.

by Matthew Stokdyk

she had become sand that
drifts forever
on the feeble breezes
of a dying summer
colored now in vermillion hues of
a sunset growing to ash,
a world growing to ash—
but what sojourns with the wind is
forgotten so easily, so
perfectly ignored, re-
pressed as a sailing leaf in an old book—
it was Vonnegut, or Hemingway,
I think, that she wanted to live inside,
absurd or drab or lean, but
always smoke
she always was
smoke, cheap cigarillos and hash and
it was her lungs what
did her in, I guess, because
instead of whispered loves I’d get
coughs and tearing
at that throat whose song
sailed away to that little island off
Maine where she was trapped and
chain-smoked and read Slaughterhouse-Five and
became unstuck in time—
but I guess she’s not dead, then, she’s just
somewhere else,
like always.

Originally published in Boy Tears Mag: Issue II (a cigarette-scented, Philly-based zine) in summer 2019. This poem is meant to be the first and last part of a chapbook, but I doubt I will ever get the project good enough to publish.

Matthew Stokdyk © 2019. All rights reserved.