For Charlie by Ruben Quesada

as the early morning light reflected off leaves against my window I called you to say I was moving back and I cried so deeply the way I cried for weeks after I moved losing my breath hovering between waking and sleep on the day I left I stood on your balcony facing the Pacific Ocean watching the sea stretch past a gauze of power lines into a green horizon this summer I began to awaken with my body covered in a cold sweat a whippoorwill calling from beyond the ramshackle fence kept me calm through the darkness and earlier this spring my dear friend Charlie had mysteriously died and like so many secrets we shared he loved to tan turning a tone the color of a young Toni Tennille he loved to dance he loved to pray every night I lie and recite the Act of Contrition to settle my head I am sorry for my sins with all my heart in choosing to do wrong and failing to do good I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things and almost every night I’ve dreamt of Charlie reading by candlelight he is old his skin sags like the arms of a tulip tree how easy it is to listen to his voice I cradle my chin into his neck our beards brush together now as you answer the phone I hear the discordant steam of cargo ships murmur in the distance there is no reason to lie to you I have been dying since we met


The author’s work can be found in the volume, Next Extinct Mammal.

Think about how the poem made you feel. Did you enjoy the run-on stream of consciousness from the author’s words, or did you struggle keeping up? Do you find the emotional tenor of a poem more important than the narrative itself?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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