Moving to the city, my red beard grew
to hide my boyish chin, and I lost weight,
enough to turn my sockets slightly blue–
adapting to a deader place and state
of being, or rather, not being, my tender hands
grew calluses from gripping wheels and brooms
that swept the refuse of a cluttered land
into heaps of cups and plastic spoons.
I became a stick who put on clothes
that fit the less the more that I went on
latching to the streets– a lonely moss
clinging in a fog that set the tone
for living in this borough full of blight
where faces turn away in failing light.
Save me from you, my love so strong
that if you left I wouldn’t live
past a day– that day so long
as if a year, so stay alive
near me, yet not near me. Strong
my pull is toward you, I could live
inside your grasp for hours long,
but do I need you, to be alive?
I shouldn’t, and if I did strike out
on my own, I’d feel such drought,
but I’d go on, finding out
the depth of pain beyond that drought,
but bleak– that if we lived forever
I’d have no other to pine for, ever.
Marc Darnell is an online tutor and lead custodian in Omaha, Nebraska, and has also been a phlebotomist, hotel supervisor, busboy, editorial assistant, farmhand, devout recluse, and incurable brooder. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa and has published poems in The Lyric, Rue Scribe, Verse, Skidrow Penthouse, Shot Glass Journal, The HyperTexts, Candelabrum, The Road Not Taken, Aries, Ship of Fools, Open Minds Quarterly, The Fib Review, Verse-Virtual, Blue Unicorn, Ragazine, The Literary Nest, The Pangolin Review, and elsewhere.