The headlines were saying that
the light is coming back again,
cutting its own leash and
it ran in bleeding
like a blackberry that pricked itself on the bush,
Which is to say: I'm always ruining myself for happiness,
ruining the body, romancing the brain for the
Politics of recovery
but recovery isn't linear like that.
Yeah, the man stands on his microphone,
screaming about the light
He said "Tonight, we're pulling the bomb from
He said "Tonight, we're pulling the berry from the stem,"
goes ahead and pricks his thumb on the light as if
Recovery was tangible. Inevitable,
Pulls the body from the wound and calls it
I stopped apologizing for the bruise, lost hold of the body.
Like programming, I was learning how to live again—
pulled the 1 from the 0, ostracized the 0
like a dog a bit more wolf than fox than terrier,
learning how to reprogram the light,
to hack the light
And the head was saying that the light was walking on water again,
pushed another boulder,
and I'm sick of being crucified with believing. With hope,
So the man says—
But the headline said—
And the man says that the light says the boulder was heavy
And the headlines say that
God isn't real but the light is worth believing in
And the man says surrender
And the headline said "Recovery Politics:
Man Shuts Out the Light Again."
So I dig into myself, angry and half in ecstasy.
I buried the light again.
The seasons changed and I was
figuring out what to do with my hands again,
trying to hold onto the light again,
the cherry, the ripening,
trying to attempt the
Discovery of happiness and
I'm sorry about the bruised elbows. I'm sorry
that I spent fifteen minutes trying to write an apology poem without using the word "sorry,"
sorry that the elbows were bruised, mine
And yours, trying to create space by making you make space
and for thinking about drowning myself
at the pool by your body and the sunlight,
I'm sorry this isn't anything about happiness.
Whenever I open myself my body
thinks "Tsunami" because
I'd rather drown myself than be drowned,
rather be handed the gun than own the gun rather
crystallize the emptiness than be nothing at all—
So I tried to create distance, bruised my elbows on all the things I couldn't say:
That I don't know how to keep the light from escaping,
but I should have held onto the sound and
That I'm sorry about the distance, the bruised fruit, that
I didn't leave the door open. I spent
Three days in my bedroom trying to figure out if I still love you—and I don't—and
I don't feel like Jesus but I'll try to walk on water
if it means letting you in again. I'll try to move the boulder. I
Still hold on to hope that the
Memory is louder than the distance—
and I hate hope.
and I hate distance.
and I hate unfinished poems,
But I hope that the tsunami is safe inside of me.
You didn't believe in God but you wanted to know that they were happy,
didn't think you were God but you wanted to give them an afterlife
So you made a river out of your body, made
a pomegranate of your heart,
swallowed their names like sinking seeds
Trying to feel alive for the people who deserved to be,
trying to grow forests with the loneliness.
Now you know why hearts sink faster than sailors do, now
you know why ghosts spend their whole lives floating
And you weren't God but you wanted to give them an afterlife
with all the drenched pomegranate seeds.
You wanted to give them something a little less empty than Paradise,
to give them a body like semicolon, like enduring,
so you wrote the sky out of Heaven and wrote
the casket out of the ground because
you wanted to give them something to fill like
Sisyphus with a purpose. Like seedless pomegranates, you
Turned your body elegy,
named it "FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF: Turning the Loss into Religion"
because you want to see the end coming.
The denial: carving a wound to feel the wound you couldn't feel.
You shouldn't have to write elaborate metaphors in an attempt to feel the absence.
The anger: reclaiming the pomegranate. All you wanted was a
place to bury the seeds, all you could find
was the poem,
The bargaining: I should have gone to the funeral. I just felt wrong,
not being able to offer a life you deserved in place of the one you took.
The depression: putting the blood back into the river. If there was
a better life you would have earned it,
an afterlife you would have enjoyed it,
but this isn't the right poem for names or for remembering
when I haven't learned how to forget.
The acceptance: You didn't believe in God but you wanted to,
housed your ghosts in the forest.
In the river, they call that salvation.
In church, they call that Paradise.
SEAN GLATCH is a high school senior living in the monotony of the Milwaukee suburbs. He is the author of his self-published poetry book 4:41 and is a writer for the online publication Tongue Tied Mag. When he’s not brewing coffee for strange old men, he’s usually worrying about college or decaying with indecision. He’s got your back.