Mine hung on the flagpole When the temperature reached 90 degrees for three days straight Again. You have no idea how hard I died when you left. The back seat is lined with towels, dried leaves on the floor, Towers of library books I haven’t read, never will. Where do passengers go for respite: A seat at the bar with a beer and a glass To inspect the counter for hidden grime? There’s always a recounting of the past decade. A Lazy Day Parade. A sham election. I was in no mood To hear this. Strings of lyrics pausing in the sky Wait for change that won’t come. I am carried to space by a dolphin balloon. There’s a voice snaking in the silence right before sleep, In the pain in the middle of a fork in the road, At a wrong turn. There’s heartbreaking truth in the raspiest of voices, Love submerged with an underwater chorus. Vibrating light emanates from our chests. I gasp as this one song pauses at the bridge: It crawls and peeks over the edge into the river. Maybe souls can be moved Here ... at the end of everything.
Note: italicized lines in this poem are lyrics from songs on The National’s most recent album: I Am Easy to Find. “You Had Your Soul with You” is the name of the first song on the album.
Kevin A. Risner is an Ohioan; is author of My Ear is a Sieve (Bottlecap Press, 2017), Lucid (The Poetry Annals, 2018), and Five Seconds Could Last Five Years (2020); and has published or has work forthcoming in Glass, Lines+Stars, Mineral Lit Mag, Ocean State Review, Variant Lit, and others.