October Sixteen Two-Thousand-Eleven

by Mikey Sivak

Public domain via Pixabay. Creative Commons CC0.


One of these days
I’m going to head for the hills
and no one will ever hear
from me ever again.

No one will know what I got up to or into
because I will throw away my iPhone
and I’ll never call my mom or my pals.

Will I have adventures?
Will I change my name?
Will they care that I am
gone at all?

Will I meet new people
and tell them I am someone else?
Charlie, perhaps, or Brandon,
or Mel.

I was born in Calcutta
to a missionary and a convict.

My father is a millionaire
but I don’t talk to him

I used to have a cat named Chauncy
and know a special recipe for
raspberry lemonade.

I don’t miss my family at all.

Will I become someone else?
Will I make it out alive?
Will I change my tune
and return?

Will I take a train back
from wherever I’ve gone to,
and show up at the door
of my mother unannounced,
now older, more muscular,
somehow taller, and bearded,
my new young wife at my side,
my new baby in her arms
at her breast?

Might they say when
they see me:

We all missed you so much.
We all thought that you had died.
How could you leave us like that?
Everyday without you has been
like a day without sunlight, and
every night in your absence was
like a decade in the gulags.

Will my best friend, now older, less slim,
tired around the eyes and with thinning hair,
get up from his barstool and say:

Let me look at you. After all this time.
You son of a bitch. My life has fallen
apart since you last saw me. I am not
at all what I was when you knew me.

Or, maybe instead sometime years on,
some person will come across my bones
in the woods,

beneath a thin blanket of decomposing leaves,
grainy dusting of old snow and frost, and the
time-bleached shreds of the things I’d worn
and carried when I died:

Vintage Sabbath tee from the ’78 tour,
a sandalwood tau on a leather bootlace,
boy scout knife, grandpa’s zippo, a field guide
for identifying edible plants and toadstools,
a cracked and faded photograph of a girl
I once loved.

Skin gone, clothes tatters, tiny fungi
reaching up to the canopy from my eye sockets
like Hasidic widows reaching out to god, early spring
fiddleheads unfurling between my tibia and fibula,
young slug traversing the arc of my paper-white ribs,
my little skeleton in repose among the Indian pipe,
a cardinal tugging on the tau and its lace.

Or maybe, I’ll just stay here and fuck around on my phone
and scribble half-assed occasional poems and sometimes
skip meals then go to Taco Bell and sleep at weird hours
and hardly exercise ever at all.

And when I lay alone in my bed,
orange light of the streetlamp
through the blinds like the
bars of a prison window,
perhaps I will think about
a time not so long ago,

maybe the sixteenth of October
a couple weeks before that
Halloween, or a thousand
other days before that

when I still believed I was
the kind of person who could
take off headlong from this quiet hell
and that it was something I still might
someday do.



Mikey Sivak is a writer and visual artist from New Haven, Connecticut. http://mykls.tumblr.com/


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