not the weight of the sun
but of the sunlight

sound of passing trains at the
far edge of everything and
it only took 30 years of living in
this town to make me realize
i was lost

it only took the death of
my father to
keep me from becoming him

only took his
relentless disappointment
to give me some small
sense of hope for
the future

all these upstate towns start to look the same

it’s a dead man’s game at
the freeway’s edge,
a length of dirty rope,
a child’s sneaker,
small sullen patches of january sunlight

too cold to fuck in the
woods out past the legion parking lot
and so then what?

rich’s house, if his mom’s not there,
or maybe spray paint and paper bags down
beneath the bridge on taylor rd

maybe bleeding in a way that
doesn’t draw any attention

maybe better poison in
brighter colors

can’t just keep waiting to be
crushed by the future forever

John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include Heathen Tongue  (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A Flag on Fire is a Song of Hope (2019 Scars Publications).

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.