Mark Gosztyla — That Boat Done Left

The hurry-up done; the wait just begun. The problem

with every revolution, by definition, is it ends

right back where it started. This roundabout nature

of, yes, the tank treads of Tiananmen. Kill the thing

in order to preserve it. I take this stick I sharpened myself,

and jam it thru my earlobe, call it a sonnet. Selectively

perfect. The word empathy thrown around these days

like it’s a football, and everyone in the game trying to play

thru some post-concussive, zombie-walk symptoms. This

winter, the winter of our winter. Late-night at the sweat

lodge, and the quality of light like an aluminum bat

to a windshield. Smokescreen. Escape. A year spent

trying to count all the rings of a redwood. Camping

at the bottom of a slot canyon so narrow total shadow even

at noon. Godhead. Goddamn. Mom says I sound like

the cokeheads in the restaurant Ladies’ Room. Give a man

a gas pedal, and he’s gonna mash on it. This diorama

of Custer’s last stand. Everyone knows he was a dick,

famous for wearing, impossible to un-see, a cape of scalps as

housecoat. The history of things pressing in on all fronts.

Can there be more than one (front, that is)? No, there cannot.

Behind that truth is only the sadness of Falstaff forced

to walk home from the party once again. Overuse of “brainstorm.”

A shadow thrown across a sunbathing goddess. Mix of sun-

screen and sweat in mouth as lips find purchase on collarbones.

Everything after. Optional 3rd row seating. Career opportunities.

—for Michaela