We are hiding beneath a faux wood
deck and you are breathing on the off-
beat. I inhale your carbon dioxide
and we recycle fogged air back
and forth between us, the air fired up,
molecules erratic, and together you
and I will suck every last proton out
of this place. This is the place for ghosts,
you tell me, and I cannot argue with you.
The mist between us. The spaces in between.
The other day you inhaled a Camel Light
and blew gray smoke into a grayer sky. The leaves
are dead. My father is dying. The cells
inside him are turning in against themselves,
folding inward like the dough I knead at Papa
John’s. I need. One day his cells will pack
it in until there is nowhere to go.
I think about that here with you, under
faux wood, the ground wet beneath us,
the dew. His cells will turn inside and against.
An infinity inward. Sometimes I think
they will collapse into a black hole that sucks
him down into the earth. Other times
I think they will bottle up and then explode.
You are thirteen. I am two years older.
You are white and I am white. The sky is gray.
The ground is wet. These are things I know.
You tell me that you think he is gone.
He isn’t. Not yet. We can wait a little longer.
I will keep you warm with my breath.
The ghosts are here dancing among the
molecules. They swish dioxide with their robes.
They know how stupid this all is. So they dance.
I admire them. They delight in their
little world. I laugh and you tell me to shut
the fuck up or he’ll hear us.