I Don't See Much At Night
We sit criss cross applesauce knee to knee.
Mr. O’Connor reads out loud from Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul.
It’s a letter from a child to his mother.
Mr. O’Connor reaches the word suicide.
It slips through.
A fish through the cracks of a wall.
Needles pinched out of the consonants.
I don’t know what it means, but it sounds like it hurts to say.
I say nothing.
Brian sitting next to me laughs.
He is sent to the principal’s office.
“Careful, there’s a car coming.”
“Good, I’m ready to fucking die,”
and we laugh together. i wonder if mine sounds fake.
sometimes when they make those jokes I consider speaking up.
I know that this is a joke, I know that we see this everywhere online now, I know that there is some truth behind it that you and I have both learned to handle, but I have a confession to make. I don’t want to disappear anymore. There’s so much in this world that I’m waiting to see. I want to get my own apartment, one with big windows and a small dog. I want to live with someone that I love, not someone I start out loving because I’m supposed to, but someone whom I fall in love with, someone who was a stranger until they weren’t anymore. I want to someday change the world, as impossible as it is.
I’ve always wanted to see the aurora borealis. I want to go the great wall again, but this time without fear of heights. I want to smell the dense air of a storm many more times
but i don’t like to brag.
there is a girl at the end of the tourist block in beijing
past the tiled roofs,
the cobblestone walkways,
the advertisements that spray a light mist into the heavy summer air
here is the tiled entrance,
the festering porta potties,
and buses to the great wall
she is screaming and crying in english
she is darker haired than most
she is paler than most
she is fatter than most
she is slower than most
people who look nothing like her sit
waiting for the bus and when
they show their friends and families
the pictures of them grinning on top of the wall
“there was also a teenager throwing a tantrum.”
my father finishes yelling at his secret girlfriend through and he ends the call. i lie awake listening but I can’t hear the tapping of his keyboard. he doesn’t leave his room to use the bathroom like he usually does. the door doesn’t open and i don’t pretend to be asleep. i don’t know if this was their last fight. i don’t know how he’d react if it was.
i go to his room long after he would have stopped breathing, and find him sitting at his computer reading articles. he glares at me, “What are you doing awake?”
“I was sleepy and thought this was the bathroom. Sorry.”
i’m standing in a playground at night, and he is crying in front of me
he holds an umbrella up to keep the snow from piling on us.
“I don’t know how to stop feeling this way,” he begs.
he is 18
he is a man ready to fight.
he is 18
he is a boy scared to look ahead.
he’s been running his whole life and only now do his thoughts catch up to his dreams
but when they meet they realize they were never the same.
i put a hand on his arm. “It passes quickly,” i lie.
i have four children or i have a dog
i have no wedding band or i still remember the vows from my third marriage
i have fallen down the stairs laughing drunk or i have saved someone from doing that
i face my fear of natural waters or i face my fear of rollercoasters
i burn bridges or i rebuild them
i miss them or they miss me
i see the stars without city lights or i see the aurora borealis
I am still trying and I am happy