Water just wants to ply with sky,
ride upon a variable, string you along
as charge for the horizon. You read a lot,
lap the neighborhood twilight, eat only
purple things: eggplant, wine. React to insult
with so sue me, offend enemies: I know you are
but what am I? Get to the “i” section of dictionary
without ever seeing ibex. Gravity’s reverse
archeology, you never get high enough
to let anything go. You are twenty-five, an accumulator
of bar tabs. A tobacco rub, belly dawning a routine
beneath your coat. Always a hangover you won’t forget—
Greene County never left you. Deep in alfalfa-lined
highway, an elkhound rushes
your truck. You dig entropy, but everything
resists. Blood traffic, dashing towards creeks
to lave daylight. Animal gutter, you leave it
behind, to a bar where there are
no birthdays, no one misses, has to
kiss you. You read about impact in the books.
Dislocation, the body count: we are in cahoots. Simulated altitude, the hype, the Freon rumble of sky. First a geriatric, then a comatose, on it goes. Then we are alone in this studio apartment, and like a doper, I notice the veins in the walls. There is a tv and a dj turntable, an iris in a vase knocked-over. “This is good,” I tell myself. “This is living.” We make little diagrams of Thanatrons, engage in tantric yoga, vegetarianism, we are growing wise to the process.
“You’ve gone overboard,” he says, when I color my Thanatron green.
He prefers things that lie parallel to the horizon, and I’m willing
to accessorize. I wear stripes in all my memories, I am only twenty-four
and Dr. Kevorkian shows me his gun. I show him
my pill collection. We touch. Affection, yes, I want to be affected. Talk to me,
I tell him. Let me touch these hands. While I take a shower, he melts the records
over the stove. No one knows. How we fight our own music,
these are my hands, too. My hair is wet when I lay down on the turntable. Better yet,
analgesic unhealing, and out of the fumes, I make myself an orphan. He diagnoses
the silence as terminal. “Prove it,” I say. “I need proof.”
I watch my veins, and we divide
“I’m lying,” I say. “I prefer living
This is good,” he says, “lying is a favorable condition.”
In this studio apartment
We listen to the I.V. drip. I push buttons.
I am getting too old
for this, I tell him, we are livid.
Christa Romanosky is Pittsburgh, PA native. Her poems have been published in The Kenyon Review Online, Cream City Review, Columbia Poetry Journal, North American Review, and elsewhere. Her fiction is featured in The Kenyon Review Online, Cincinnati Review, and is forthcoming in Boston Review.