alex wesley moore
Once, you tried to throw me into our pond to teach me to swim, but time gasped and stopped, its nose pinched by finger and thumb. I stayed curled midair between sky and its murky mimesis.
I walk the I-600 to see your cross. As I tightrope the white line, I practice the art of standing straight, but my shoulders slump themselves—spine crooks at its own behest. My shadow watches, gives pointers.
Why do you keep you head down?
We’re out in the church parking lot on a Tuesday and you show me which places need mowed—how to razor the life out of the weeds.
And that seed fell in fertile ground, but the weeds rose up around it.
I dropped a bible in the bathtub once, and you scolded me for reading scripture naked. The impact of the truck tore the clothes from your body.
No one knows if you did it on purpose, or how straight you were standing as you strode into your shadow. I can’t imagine you didn’t hear the horn. I wonder how your body arced. If time froze.
Mom and Dani cried at the funeral, but I couldn’t work up the tears. Something about your corpse threatening to sit back up out of the casket, pale flesh and all.
In my dreams, I can’t keep your eyes shut. I have to pin down your lids between thumbs and pointers.
When you were away sometimes Mom would tell us ghost stories. The awful, corny ones where people dream something into reality. Mirrors mirroring mirrors, kids trapped in the infinite between. Mouths torn into smiles.
I don’t think about you any less now that you’re dead. They keep saying they’re sorry for my loss, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to shake you. When I end my own days, maybe I’ll have to see you again in the flesh. So I hold my breaths not to waste them.
Count to ten.
When I stop sucking air I’m conscious of weight lifted off my frame. I can stand straight until my lungs hiss at me to let them out.
If I ripped open my chest, could my lungs live on their own? Look at them on our kitchen floor, pulsing with breath. The lopsided metronome of their hope.
Your cross sits choked in the weeds past the rumble strips and the last of the road’s straight margin. I wade through the grass your corpse feeds to touch the small memorial. It’s mower-stained, like the white socks of a kid who ran out into a field without shoes just to show you he could.
I am only always above the pond. Couched in the held breath of the universe, I study my legion reflections in the water’s unshattered veneer. I see you standing on the shore, arms raised in crooked hallelujah.
About the Author: A neurodiverse writer and musician, alex wesley moore lives in Muncie, Indiana, and tends to stress over the distance between words and truth. alex focuses on liminal space, figuring out the best ways to convey the absence left in the wake of others' movements. He lives with his wife, Abi, and service dog, Zephyr.