Litany

The busy tone telephone
                                          three in the morning,
                           with you asleep at the other end.
   Ceiling full of stars.
                  That scene in the bathroom with your too red face
            all of high school,
   another letter where you fake cursive
            say: you’re my brother.
I never wanted you,
               And then you threw a baseball
      made of dark matter that took root in my chest.
                     In physics class, no one can explain this.
            Ms. Green draws us a field, bowing in the center.
                     That’s all anyone can say.
   the ground sinks and swallows everything around it,
               there’s a better answer,
                                    You smiled. You took off your pants. Sure,
      we’ll go with the explanation of a boy wanting
                           to see someone else’s, he’ll show you his.
But Einstein never said anything about cock,
                           maybe the rooster my father shot
                                             after it chased my sisters up a tree.
   Jordan asked me first, said: you love a boy too?
                     She didn’t give a shit, and then she did
                        in Sunday school, with the preacher handing out tickets to heaven
      and how if you cut off a piece and give it to a sinner
                  it spells hell.
                           Round trip to Paris is cheaper,
                                             It cost a kiss; you still couldn’t afford it.
                        The things I brought you:
                                    miniature Eiffel tower, still collecting dust
                                                On your shelf. Stones from Normandy
                  bookend the CDs I made you, but they never played.
                           On repeat you can hear breathing, the fifth track
                              A lie, a lie, an awful lie.
                                             I wish I wrote it: you know not what you do.
            You do. Let’s put away the video games, the plasma guns,
                        the sleeping bag
                                             I never needed.

John Andrews is working on an MFA in Poetry at Texas State University and is the current managing editor for Front Porch Journal. His work has also appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Stone Highway Review, and Aim For The Head: an Anthology of Zombie Poetry.

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