Ferment/Debris.

 
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Sommelier

I got lost, and the only way that I could talk to God was through your songs. 

I used to sing in tune. 

Did you? 

When I was a child, I prayed, and he felt like new wine fermenting inside of old age. I know that might not make sense, but he was a decade removed from all of his accomplishments, and he still had the eyes of a dreamer, and no one worshipped him as a demigod. 

I used to throw stones at his bedroom window, back before he threw stones at me. 

He’d climb out like clockwork after his parents had gone to sleep, and we’d sneak to the meadow up the street from their house in the mountains just east of the city. I loved it there. It was far enough away that the glow didn’t bleed into the show. He was so full of awe. We'd play connect the dots and make up constellations. I was wishing for the stars, but he’d lie down and look up and stare into the empty black between them until all the suns in his periphery blurred into one and he’d close them so tight to hold on to the spectrum and whisper, “I knew there was something more than black and white out there." 

Don’t leave me. 

I know exactly how a window screen sounds popped out from its hinges. I used to be the one you snuck out for. When we were younger I used to wonder what I’d do if I ever heard the bedsprings blend into the creaking of the frame bending blending into feet against the stucco, searching for the ground, and now I know. 

It happened in slow motion and I swear the second hand never made it a moment past my eyes closing before I heard our love collapse like lungs, guzzling up the ocean, salt soaking up everybody's condolences hoping / still willing to invite you back home and

and now I dream of the nights that you used to talk about fire and color and wonder if God is as real as the sunspots that you saw in his absence. I tried taping my eyelids shut to see him like you used to. I tried cutting my eyelids off to see him like I used to. I stitched the skin to skin to salvage whatever was left and then searched the sky for signs of life like there wasn't blood blurring into the vision. 

Is freedom abandonment? Is that why you abandoned me? Is freedom forgetfulness? I forget, I can't stop remembering when we were young, and you stayed, and you felt like old faith casked and too mature for your age. And I know it doesn't make sense, but he was a decade away from all of his accomplishments, and he still had the heart of a son, and no one worshipped him in the place of one. 

Will I ever be able to sing in your choir? 
I can't hit the notes. 
I can't hit the notes. 
All I wanted was to sing in your choir. 
I used to sing in tune. 
Did you? 

I threw up my prayers like incantations. 

I'd give anything to see the sky one last time.

 

Carl Sagan's Smoking Chair

The sun had just begun to come through the windows when the phone rang, and time slowed the way that dust hangs in his rays when the room is still enough for you to see it. I always loved watching those fragments of old stars, memories of explosions that float in the air like both a foreshadowing and an embrace as warm as autumn, saying, 

“You’ll make it through. After your heart can no longer stomach the torture, or the way the pain always expands to a weight that collapses on itself when gravity betrays the attraction of youth for the undress of age, you’ll be able to breathe again.” 

The thing is, there’s no bridge for bypassing crucifixion. 

Down the hallway, every ringing scream beat the truth in, and the rotary dial shook on its axis like my pale blue dot spun out of control and exposed as no less broken than the same motes of hope that spoke from their silence like prophecy. 

“Ma’am, are you sitting down?” 

I thought about life and man and assembly and my ribcage and sleep and watched the spotlight move upward with the sun descending and all of the particles that we weren’t made of maddeningly understanding like they were right about the news, and taunting like anything could happen with the right set of lungs breathing into this room. 

I sat in the quiet imagining you heard the same sound despite how loud your mind always was. 

What ifs are deafening questions. 

The sun had just begun to come through the windshield when my whole field of vision became a prism system, and in the flash as long as a life sentence before my eyes, I had hope that, maybe, you would come to remember me as fascinating as every star - once monochromatic as ours - whose death gave birth to memories as colorful as this spectrum. It shone as if to say, 

“She’ll forgive you. After searching the night and every dust cloud in her telescope or the empty rooms in your home, and collapsing into your scent like the moments you’d come in late with the night’s chill still clinging to the leather jacket she used to latch onto like one day she might not be able to feel you beneath it, she’ll be able to love again.” 

The thing is, there’s no bridge for bypassing crucifixion. 

Down the hallway, the phone sang its pitch as loud as our collision, and the car flipped like a pale blue top spun beyond the reach of its sunbeam suspended in time, like if its relative then i’ve got enough to get this out: 

“My love, are you sitting down? 

No matter how small a spec we are – floating in some empty living room – you are still a world to me, and I will expect to see you at peace with the debris that I return to in your afternoons, like the glimmer of old stars – no matter how dead they are – knowing that each and every piece was once a prelude to our eternal somethings who already knew the news. Anything could happen with the right set of lungs breathing into this room. 

What ifs are deafening questions. 

She'll learn to love again.