by Joshua Corson

who am i to get away with sobriety to be the fly and the spider storm and the sun all death takes is a fresh paycheck a tuesday with nothing to do  *  john drowned in his own blood, body a bayou of polluted rivers. his eyes, i’m sure, thrown wide with want face ghost-white cravings shame-shocked his obituary blamed his chrons  *  i must be seeing things my fingertip where i bit the nail now a new one? this nail is long trimmed  cylindrical —mine are flat unkempt  *  we spoke only a month ago: sober maybe a year back building computers: a one-bedroom in michigan i was in chicago coming up on threeit’s at the knuckle now this new me this turning the white knuckles they warned me of how one can clench so to disappear as if the ocean could spit out all its salt start fresh with the same shores the same nagging waves taking the beach bit by bit i lived like that fading for a while came to call it strength  *  we’d scooter through hyde park grind bike racks spit on the sidewalk: lips gone a Gatorade-blue. swim-suit-switch soon as we’re home  shaved heads identical beneath the pool’s quick slosh  the summers trick of foreverwhen it took my hand i knew did anyone ever earn each breath, body worthy of its dust and rattle  that it’s john’s hand relieves me growing where once was me black hair where once was blonde a tan line in the shape of a watch: triathlons  he earned this  a new bud protruding through a dead limb a chorus of branches whistling him into the wind  *  a budding business man he bought at VW Rabbit at 16, it’s cobalt-blue brilliantly pure a bad boy doing 90 in a 40— his coffin on wheels  my mom called iti never thought i’d want to be someone else chest a little less muscular eyes blue-green then brown  let him live let him have this movie magic i’ve been a mountaintop balding and bright, watching the valley swell and swell into first a hill then a ridge until he takes even the sky each of my wild flowers turns in on itself, their roots scratching the sky squeezing the air until they all dissolve their dust some unworthy seed spread throughout his new forest  *  seasons greetings, the carters—2000 i dug up john from the garage last summer the sun high stifling— i found another almost forgot the picture’s gloss i asked my mom is it really him? boys buried in boxes:  my birthday the roller rink  *  my breath left quicker than expected  i was a boy a breeze a tree choked on its leaves  i had wanted to say something
to leave my family with a son worth the grief  down here in a suit too big drowning in deluge of pine and formaldehyde i realize i was selfish to the last second consumed in my half-life again sucked into my mirror-me waiting for the right words to come: the point to all this guilt unaware that i should’ve said

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