BY MICHAEL DHYNE
We light your body on fire. We learn to pray.
Summer opens and falls to its knees. I hold the sun
behind my eyelids. I see your lips on Mom’s
swollen belly. She holds your head at both ears.
Listen. I can’t go back any further. Look at me
shouting behind the glass, my dumb hands
banging on air. I see you standing on the porch
of the dream. Even here, you’re turning
to ash, dissolving into ocean. Years of nothing.
How can I explain this feeling. Mom says
you’re still inside me. I trace the lines of my palm
with a switchblade. I learn to beg. Undress
language with my tongue. Collarbone, lipstick.
I come over the bathroom sink, drag my palm
across the mirror. Call it horizon. The beginning
of heaven. The house I’m always leaving.
Say, goodbye. I dare you. Say, I’m sorry.
My hand reaches for your face. It could fit
in your eye socket, dissolve into night like
your ash on my fingertips. I’ve forgotten
so much already. I drive across the country.
I fall in love. You have no idea. I look exactly
like you. I dissolve into hands. We smile.
Mom reaches for me across the table, says
look how far you’ve come to get here.
And outside, the rain assembling
like bones in a dream.
BY MICHAEL DHYNE
after grief therapy
We lifted the parachute
high as we could, took turns
on our backs, arms pulling the sky apart
overhead. Someone said
close your eyes and I felt the room
breathe. My father was there
and the house was on fire. We walked
the seam between rooms together
like I too had died and death
was a hallway. How else could I be there?
It was the dream we all had, our hands
becoming hands as we moved them
in tandem. He opened a door
and I couldn’t tell the living
from the dead. I thought we all
were ascending. On the night my heart
finally opened I saw a black ocean
hang like a pendulum under a black sky.
I swear I’ve never felt love like this.
I say I’m afraid I won’t be the same
as I was before, and you say
it doesn’t matter. Let go.
Michael Dhyne was born and raised in California. He is currently a Henry Hoyns Fellow in the University of Virginia's MFA program, where he teaches poetry and was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. Recent work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Fugue, Salt Hill, Sonora Review, and Washington Square Review.
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