CHRISTOPHER MCKITTERICK

Because
the Moon 3: Yesterday I saw the astronomer


what's it like to look
into a telescope
I asked him

he smiled It's like
not having a shot of Jack Daniel's
straight-up with mirror drunks,

or not waking up with
screams of parents in love-
-hating burning-throat voices

not remembering
little sister
crouched silent in her room

not being a young boy
and squinting the pain
of It'll be different next time

not seeing other families
live Cleaver-lies
and sometimes quietly cry

not being a young man
and squinting the pain
of the young boy still hiding

not seeing yourself
at the bottom
of young younger brother's glass,

or not hearing a single scream
yours or someone else's
and you can't be sure

not feeling the impact
of a night-leaping tree
each and every time a motor runs

not bleeding
all night
from a memory not cut

not being haunted by the strange face
a girl's face too near my car
lying like a vandalized Halloween pumpkin

not paying
for broken glass and teeth
in other people's faces,

or not throwing insults
and plates and dirty clothes
at the person who once was lover

not looking at a framed picture
one of yourself and maybe someone else
and your stomach grows so disgusted
you want to tear the glass

not holding the one
you were going to marry
in an embrace like pain

not worrying if you can feel or not
the happiness of tongue-lip phrases and embraces
the sadness of a lover climbing into a long-distance car,

or not sensing the cold
when it's cold outside
cold as you are inside

not being afraid to die
but wanting cold numbness
more than you ever wanted a warm love touch

not being haunted
all the bright and goddamn long
summer days by your cold self

not pouring vodka
down your throat like a hell's winter storm
hoping you won't remember
and maybe not wake up

not being afraid
maybe you will remember
maybe you will wake up,

or not sitting in a room
full of ex-drunks who all
smile happiness but you know
how empty really echoes inside

not sitting in a room
full of never-been-drunks who all
smile happiness and you don't know
if their faces are icy clay lies

not biting your teeth hard and tight
because you know
men can't cry
at least not you

not worrying if you want to feel or not
because it's been so long since you have
and your head feels like a concrete slug

not having to face the numb memory of
what it felt like to have eyes
that welled up and ran warm

not being haunted by the memory of
what muscles tightening
your cheeks and lips
into happiness felt like,

or not going to work
and knowing everyone else
will be sober, maybe smell
like perfumed relaxation instead of fear

not having to wonder
who the hell is this
dark-haired woman sleeping beside me

not having to know
who the hell this
dark-haired woman is sleeping beside me

not taking down
all the mirrors in the bathroom
that had red and painted faces

not driving endless
down long empty roads with long empty memory thoughts
like night-stitched highway weeds

not throwing up
stinging-bitter acids
even though you haven't eaten in days

not having to wonder
if this is your last day
will you force yourself
to crawl out of bed

but you know
it's still kind of like
seeing a reflection
of your own eye
in the eyepiece
if it's real bright outside.

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