I/You/Her – Dylan Angell
January 31, 2019
As a little kid I performed small rituals that I convinced myself contributed to preserving some balance within the universe.
For example: in my childhood home there is a banister that has a total of four knobs that are placed on top of each turn of the stairwell. I had convinced myself that I had to softly tap the top of each knob as I walked down the stairs and then blink my eyes at the moment of my light tapping.
If I didn’t commit to this act then all the planes may fall out of the sky at once.
I often counted as I executed a task and every act that I failed to complete in the allotted amount of time I imagined would be met with a different set of dire circumstances: if I did not take out the garbage and return back to the house in 20 seconds then the neighbor’s baby may die in its sleep, if I didn’t answer the phone before three rings then WW3 would break out.
In hindsight, I spent much of my childhood blaming myself for the apocalypse.
You who would throw bottles at moving trains once told me that I must preserve the best parts of myself.
You who said you have no heroes once shaved your head in the Sunday school bathroom.
You who once kissed a girl with a tab of LSD hidden under your tongue now revisits voicemails as if you might find an answer to a prayer.
You who left me alone at the stripclub when you saw that the stripper was a childhood friend told me that was not the first night that you cried alone in the Harris Teeter parking lot.
You who told me that it is best to develop practical skills slid through the bars of the swimming pool gate as the rest of us climbed over.
You who once released a fire extinguisher into a hospital emergency room has built a fence to keep the deer out of your garden.
You who told me that there will be no future picks up garbage before each sunrise.
You who told me that integrity starts with “I” did the Pee Wee dance as you were approaching the table to take a seat at thanksgiving dinner.
You who has a tattoo of the name of a woman that no one has ever met no longer can remember how long your guitars have gone unplayed.
You who saw the ocean for the first time on your 17th birthday told me that you don’t need to travel because the internet.
You who refuses to call anyone sir unless you are making an order at a fast food drive through was sucker punched by your high school history teacher for playing mute without a doctor’s note.
You who double dared me to jump from the highest edge of the quarry has told me that your left ear is your good ear.
You who often has said “it is better to burn out than fade away” watched every Batman movie alone on your 40th birthday.
You who say you only dream when you are sober and that you haven’t been sober since elementary school has chosen Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” to sing at karaoke.
You who taught me that one must stay open to change has changed in ways that I can no longer remain open to.
her pointer finger
ends at the knuckle
while lighting a cigarette
her hand makes the shape of
a smokey toy gun
she falls into a trance
when leaving the bar
reciting the alphabet backwards
a state trooper in the rearview
her baby brother died
before he learned to speak
he didn’t know it
but his name was Kyle
a stray dog she had found
became a Kyle too
until a decade later
when he jumped
out of a moving car window
she has never
but someone once
smashed their fist
into the crest of
her left eye
and at times
like a bird
that can’t take off
causing a stream of tears
to streak her left cheek
but she doesn’t seem
to a stranger
it may even appear
has caused her
to lose control