FAREWELL TO AARON MCKINNEY
By Moriah Erickson
Cut from brick and stone, I am
listening to silence, the song my heart
beats out in time to dirty punk songs.
Too Drunk to Fuck and Police Truck
loud in my ears, some simple words you taught me
as a child only learns from those older, wiser.
I am swallowed whole, consumed
for so long, undigested. I am Jonah, you
are the whale. To you, I was krill, just
one offensive little fish in the school you swallowed.
Now I can turn your stomach.. I do.
You are a sharp, scalloped tongue
spitting biting words at 2AM
when I won't talk. Those calls, fueled
by whiskey waters and some girl there
who wouldn't talk to you, or look at you,
or fuck you like you want, leave me
emptier than last time. You want
to hurt me, you want me to
bleed the sound of you, 100 miles away
I can picture you perfectly, still young,
always loaded. You lean against a borrowed car
on idle, feel the piston power of cylinders
within you, beneath steel
because the cars you drive are old
enough to still be made from something that matters.
Your smoke droops below your mouth,
bounces as you slur how much you need
to tell me something that matters.
None of this does.
What matters now is nothing, the simple
act of not speaking and force-feeding
the echo of whale-belly emptiness
to your churning, eager hunger, the sound
of you breathing, waiting for me to say
anything that counts.
Words on the abacus slide between
you and I, count out the ways
we hurt each other.
And when it is finally
finally in my favor, so many years
and so much love and so much
hate later that it evens out, no barnacles left
across the keel of what was once
just a game to you and everything to me,
I hang up the phone.
I do. And I don't imagine
you throwing down your cell
like you do when you are mad, a cloud
of dust rising around it like a welt
in the parking lot at the Loon Saloon.
I don't imagine any of it, any of
you anymore. I close my eyes
to all that you held above me
and return to dreams.
Moriah Erickson is eagerly awaiting the release of her first full-length poetry collection In The Mouth of the Wolf (Kelsay, 2015) to join her two award-winning chapbooks Nightboat (NFSPS press, 2010) and Three Crows Laughing (Slipstream, 2011). She has had multiple poems published in many journals, as well as some short fiction. She has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She works as a sleep tech in Duluth, MN.