five hundred years

sleep our hands find each other. Outside,
the street, paved with bottlecaps— yesterday
a parked car glistened, now— a mere scatter

of green shattered glass. You murmur

from a dream, I feel
night press on my chest, like the earth
tamping the dead back into earth. If we had five

hundred years to work this out,
if after all that time

we remembered, if we still cared, if we
had fingers to dig, if there were shovels,

we could find each other, blood
compressed to rubies, lungs to slate,

fingers gone yellow, blue leaking
from your eyes, my shoes, side-

by-side beneath the window
as if I had simply
disintegrated out of them, yours,

toe-to-hell, as though you struggled.

– Nick Flynn


any poem that i have to read three times at first find is a miracle. i read and read again and held my breath, and my god, if it isn’t perfect.

if we think of poetry not as telling us a story or getting people simply to listen in a new way, but as pointing to that which we don’t have other words for. just pointing in the direction of all that great, expansive, impossible being … awareness … feeling. this poem points at something that makes me unable to sit still or breathe regularly. and for all my curating, that’s my single, solid measure for gold. 

new favorite.


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