I’m Not Thinking

of my dad’s face,
what a forty-foot fall from a ladder looks like
(brown bats swooping after stones in the moonlight.)

At my best friend’s funeral in high school
her face was melting candlewax
and her mom laughed
and her dad cried
and we released butterflies
at the park.

My dad shoots up with a butterfly
needle at the riverfront,
feels the frigid cold of February
through a thin tarp cloth
& stitches, as thorned stems crawl
down his skull to sockets sprouting
overripe blackberry eyes.

My friend had long blue hair
she wore like a nest of thorns and roses, to say
I could hurt you, I could be soft
and that beautiful hair was still blue at the funeral, but it wasn’t
alive anymore, and neither was the stick-n-poke
alien tattooed on her ankle.

My dad as an alien, now, as a creature
from some foreign planet in my doorway
the door to my bedroom on the floor
wood splinters, holes in drywall
& white powder on his fist like a handful of stars
drawn down from the heavens
ready to send me back.

Maybe he was reaching for the moon from his ladder
& he was high enough to think
he was high enough to touch
the moon, to drag it back
to earth before
the earth dragged him back.

Grayson Ruyak is an undergraduate at the University of La Verne, studying creative writing and Japanese. Reading and writing have been pivotal to his life for as long as he can remember, and he hopes that through his poetry, readers will be able to find a sense of connection, honesty, and heart.

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