Just Sleeping – Adeline Swartzendruber

stone tape theory


you are what they call a residual haunting —
you are driving a car
because you are always driving a car

i am almost-roadkill
bleeding, not dead yet
and embarrassed to be illuminated by headlights

there was a time i would have wanted to be seen;
a fawn stumbling through its first steps,
looking something like a disney cartoon

i wasn’t always blood and guts strewn
across the asphalt,
i used to keep some things inside me




for val


floating through a city of holograms
barely registering the vomit on the escalator
the whole world is see-through
a phantasmagoria of human misery
plays out on top of the golden chessmen
not dead, just sleeping
and the dragon waiting
underneath the smog lies that thousand year period
at the beginning of myth
when, independent of each other,
we all agreed:
the worst possible evil was brother killing brother
the blind one kills the innocent
watch the serpent, the trickster-god
he’ll find you with your glasses smashed
sat weeping on the concrete, lost,
and tell you where to go,
and point with deadly aim
there is a good child who is harmless
and a good child who does what he’s told
i promise you were the innocent one

we’ll come back here at the end of the world
when our father dies
and that great big dragon flies overhead carrying
the last of the corpses
all those caught in the wave of history will drown
and then the wave will turn to vapor
first i’ll sit in hell with you
for following instructions
we can complain about the ventilation
we can play board games

it won’t be forever