When we walked in here the sun was still in the sky, but now it has fallen, or maybe retreated behind the roof above us, the smoke and sand, too. And you at my side with your arm outstretched, your longest finger tip an inch away from my pinkie, but with this board on me I’ll never move to reach.
When they told us the sky would fall, I didn’t believe it. Photographs lie, maybe, the meteorites made bigger by perspective. Did they hear my doubt? Come crashing from above into our barn, one meteorite, making what we do from here a lot easier.
If I had believed in this tragedy, it might have brought us together. Arms clasped around each other in fear, tension becoming huddled fear. What is infidelity at the site of cosmic annihilation? Nothing, nothing, a slip of the phallus just, in this larger scale, barely. Her and I being the same, when you put it that way (which you might have anyway). The roof’s wood has splintered into my side, and it hurts enough to make me feel forgiving.
But for you, something different. Heavy weighing on you, the meteorite itself. When you told me about her, you kept your lips straight, your eyes like a teacher’s educating me. This is how men work, this is how your life will be, and I couldn’t help but stay calm. Only small tears found their way down my cheek, and only my stomach rebelled, contracting and opening, tides of acidic protest; scraping myself against stone. Slow, reserved, accepting. Ready to enter, with you, the voided partnership we might tread from now. No tenderness, but sparse utility.
When I was ten I imagined dying for the first time. Mom told me Grandma was gone, would never come back. Died, a word I’d heard but never understood. Grandma had pressed so hard against herself she’d simply stopped being, like a marshmallow squeezed flat between your palms. And as all of her being collapsed into one point, an explosion of good. Memories and triumphs, we all have them, I think, exploding into fragments for the benefit of the living. But my death is just a collapse without a spring, and I can’t see anything beyond my pinkie anymore.