nothing like the moment i wished would not come to clear me of that buzz. ten o’ clock on an Austrian Sunday: we are the only souls on the corner where the amber light flashes. there’s no traffic at this hour. you hold your yellow bike between us as I throw my arms around you. this time, you expect it. and in those seconds i can’t tell you (and in these words i cannot tell you) how you’ve changed my life. one summer, my Friend, and i’m not dying anymore. you didn’t know what i did to myself, but now i don’t want to; now i don’t need to. i have a choice. i let go to go where you can’t see me cry, and Hannah’s suggestion only delays me, for the absinthe exacerbates everything. once my head meets my pillow and i prepare to speak some shitty Italian, i can only bawl my fucking eyes out because i am sad, and i will miss you, my Friend.
talk about opportunity: a german journey to the city that the man, dead shortly after intro duction, revealed in 200-ish life changing pages of american text. physical reality bodily presence in the footsteps of billy pilgrim. dear God, please let it happen. i’ll be over the fucking moon. happy. genuinely happy, which I haven’t been nearly enough. oh dear God, please, if this all pulls through, everything will be beautiful, and nothing will hurt.
“The people are wilting,” he said,
or so my best friend twice has to repeat to me,
over the overwhelming, overlapping voices of our peers.
We sit in so stifling a room with
too many desks, too many students,
and not enough space between.
Our bright cable sweaters and earflap hats
so we crack the back wall’s window,
which was meant to guard us from
nature’s thick white snowflakes
for which we dressed to face.
Perhaps it is not the hastily drunk
grande peppermint mocha
that causes my small palms to sweat;
no caffeine buzz transforms
the surrounding sounds into
an unintelligible hum
and prevents me from listening,
as he, in the rolled up blue shirt sleeves,
speaks only four people away from me
about the passion I will only
timidly admit we share.