by Patrick Holian

A graveyard, but for vindication. A memory, but of something that hasn’t happened yet,
but not a premonition.

A rotisserie chicken, but also every item on the dollar menu, but also water in our cereal,
stretch it out babe.

A miracle, but experienced by a fifth-century atheist named Scott, who declined the mantle
of mystic and refused

to associate his tears of jade to divine intervention, choosing instead to blame his fatty diet.
A tryst, but

observant or kosher or halal or etc., but like, also, a mellow affair conducted for the sheer joy
of feeling terrible.

Crepuscular, but chartreuse. The moment of the recognition of love. Psychedelics, but
your friend’s dirtbag

older brother’s cocaine cut with whatever they use to put down rabid animals. A dream
of a party,

but a gathering of all your ex-lovers eating caviar and fried bologna sandwiches and
enumerating every

single one of your flaws. The truth is, I will fondly remember no one but you. What haven’t
we unlearned,

under the guise of citizenship or allegiance or affection? I assure you it’s not dementia,
I’ve always put

my housekeys in the freezer. I tell you that in the oppressive, suffocating heat I will rush
you inside, take off

all of your clothes, and suck the heat out of your pores like a venom. Just as I fall asleep
each night my love

whispers to me of thalassophobia, the fear of deep water, assures me that this and all of my other fears are justified and holy.

Patrick Holian (he/him/his) is a Mexican American writer from San Francisco, California. His work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, 2020, and Salt Hill Journal, 2022, he was a 2019 Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest finalist, and a finalist for Michigan Quarterly Review’s 2021 Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize.