Read a Poem
Wallet Photo w/ Litanies
By J David
teeth bared toward camera flash, four smiling teens
wrap our arms tangled birch across shoulders and laugh
beside a ferris-wheel stuck like a gourd in the dirt
in this photo tommy doesn’t have cancer
in this photo he has thick follicles of hair pouring from his scalp
in this photo he is probably, most likely, in all honesty, holding
shelby’s hand behind our backs and texting sam about it later
and in this photo sam is sober and certainly asking
for a funnel cake
in our estimation, things will be like this forever
we tell ourselves—forever
not thinking of:
pulses broken open onto bathroom tile
toxicology screens reading oxycodone
shelby’s front lawn survivor’s guilt
shouting at her mother for dropping the casket
there is only a picture I should’ve taken:
four children holding each other and laughing,
one solitary star marking rejoinder against the murk,
and a night sky that belonged to us.
a whole sky—dark, and shatterproof, and ours.
“wallet photo w/ litanies” by J David. Copyright J David 2020. Used by permission of the author.
J. David is a Ukrainian-American writer living in Cleveland where they are an MFA candidate at Cleveland State University. Their debut chapbook Hibernation Highway
was released from Madhouse Press in 2020. A Baldwin House fellow, their work has appeared in The Colorado Review, Salt Hill, Redivider, Passages North, The Journal
, and elsewhere. Find them on twitter @LookingAtLilacs
, or their website jdavidwrites.weebly.com
Write a Poem
Write a poem on a body part that has little to no function, or one that is often removed such as adenoids, tonsils, gall bladder stones, the appendix, or the spleen.