Three Poems by Nick Flynn




    From the piss on the bark, from the ash on

    the leaf, from the scar


    you pass on, from the cross you carve deep,

    nothing here falls


    you haven’t let fall, air snatched from the buck

    mid-leap. His flesh will pass through you


    as you pass through your sons—

    should have eaten them


    when they were tiny.





    Her triggers: buildings, windows, department stores (her mother had

    thrown her body from one). Mine: pills, guns, the ocean (mine tried each

    before succeeding). This was the how. The when for us was the same—

    autumn—we’d go inside ourselves every fall & neither was in any shape to

    look for the other, to coax the other back, not really. Her mother hadn’t left

    a note, mine had written I FEEL TOO MUCH over & over in hers, as if

    these unnamed feelings, as indispensible as oxygen for the body, could

    destroy her (they did). We never (shine on you crazy diamond dog day

    afternoon delight) discussed the why.





    He paints her face from memory.

    But it doesn’t look anything like me, she argues.

    Perhaps not, he says—but it will.



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