magnolia. i know how the water looked. drive-in stereos. we keep quoting , what was it, family guy? there were so many good bands then and everyone had stopped talking about nirvana. our friend at berkeley asks, what’s changed up there? someone cut the power at the space needle, for hours it’s as though it’s never been there. i’ve only seen canada, maybe mexico from a roof in san diego. right now, there’s a truck parked too close to us, the driver eyes us when we crawl into our car. the 5 is backed up, we take the back way.

gasworks park. we are markers, out the field, out the builders, brief, you are in your underwear again. where are you coming from? there are only blocks between us, and in the snow i can hear your brother watching. i can see the tower in your glasses, i can see winter cinching—stop looking at me swan! there is no one in this city with bandages.

greenlake. i learned to swim there. you threatened to haunt me, and when you died, i kept waiting for your face on my window. the golf course is crowded again, our garage made history and even the neighbors stopped snooping. i can hear my parents laughing:. fishing wire, tendon, a baby shark—i was told to close my eyes, hold my breath. kids chalking the pavement-squares do not hear the plunge. you could be wearing a gas mask, you could be dancing. i can go back to that summer, handle-bar scar, marrow-heat, oiled baseball gloves, and the way you looked with your shirt off. let the ferris wheel leave you there—


they’re still on inside. hold for the frame. your hair looks famous. look at how the feathers stick and you lost the right to make claims, and in the orchard-light, your profile is presidential. i won’t mention clinton again, but i want to. i’ve heard it both ways. you and your comments like fiddleheads. i could not see her in the dark. it’s easy to be cruel. i did not know my way around a body. yeah, we memorized
that one episode of maganum p.i. you’ve learned table tennis. the carpet is stained, the dusk, the conference table, my best friend is not high when i call and we talk about records.

      i want sky-light music.
      i want trench-noise.

hire us, let the party kill our moods. give me a bottle-bruise, wake the roommates. the moment—alleged. fuck whoever doesn’t love you. it’s ok. skin is skin. cum is momentary. someone in the crowd said whoop whoop it’s the sound of the police. whoop whoop it’s the sound of the beast. and the pews you remember had candle wax and pencil. awaken these plants at your feet and the stutter-shove will salute, the bruise, a columbine groan, signatures thawed, bone and saliva, he keeps saying gender bend. talk to me about semi-colons, tell me about how it feels to wreck the interstate. the horse went down in the hail storm. it took hours to lift him.


Joshua Young is the author of When the Wolves Quit: A Play-in-Verse (Gold Wake Press), To the Chapel of Light (Mud Luscious Press), and with Chas Hoppe, The Diegesis (Gold Wake Press), as well as the forthcoming THE HOLY GHOST PEOPLE (Plays Inverse Press). He is Associate Director of Poetry & Nonfiction at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches Poetry and writing. He lives in the Wicker Park neighborhood with his wife, their son, and their dog.