He says we’re running out of time
like he sees it in the air behind him,
like the sidewalk might split
beneath a new atmosphere
while we watch the mass of years
collect in a distance we can’t reach.
But it’s never quite like that,
not so clear as a dream
forged in the sparks of gears
pushing each other around
even while I sleep through
the trains that followed moonlight
into town—steel sirens stretching
on for morning, sending forward
the cries we’re catching up to.
The youth I wore with you,
now covered in dust
and echoed reminders, speaks:
We’re sprinting like we stole
too much of this. We’re covered
in our crimes, running through
exits, from one tense
existence to another.
Each moment, identically, a getaway
to the only home we get—
like the slices of an onion,
or falling grains of sand,
or individual gunpowder particles—
in the deadly collective, one giant
body consumes the other.
He asks, Would you tell me if you were dying?
Would you tell anyone?
I think someone might like to know.
I think I might go skydiving, he says.
I think I like secrets more than I let on.
And I think dying is a special kind of flight,
dry as the false air in my younger dreams.
Oh, how I sail from slides to trees
and back again. I fill my pockets
with change and black boxes
before each jump, and scar the earth
where I land. I think he knows best
how to watch yourself dive from the sun,
how to watch yourself return
to a place you haven’t seen before,
or haven’t seen like this.
It’s the feeling of really dying
or wondering if you are,
of wondering where all the life goes
when you’re gone, that it might hide
better than we expect, that missing
sounds less accurate than unseen.
So now he’s falling, or else
the rest are and he’s hanging on
somehow, and in those moments
that drift away, slow like the bending
stream that wrings itself out somewhere
deeper in the woods, where two deer
might drink and ignore us entirely,
he has for himself enough time
to wonder about the world assembly.
How, then and always, he felt each particle
in the ocean reach for him like a mother
shaping her children—moonlit,
spun in their new celestial forms—
into the field of hot night.
Bobby Bolt is a student and poet from Springfield, Illinois, who will begin a candidacy for an MFA in Poetry at Texas State University this Fall. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Runestone, Route 7 Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, Rappahannock Review, Sink Hollow, and Lincoln Land Review.