3.31.2012

EMPTYING TOWN


I want to erase your footprints
from my walls. Each pillow
is thick with your reasons. Omens 


fill the sidewalk below my window: a woman
in a party hat, clinging
to a tin-foil balloon. Shadows 


creep slowly across the tar, someone yells, "Stop!"
and I close my eyes. I can't watch 


as this town slowly empties, leaving me
strung between bon-voyages, like so many clothes
on a line, the white handkerchief 


stuck in my throat. You know the way Jesus 


rips open his shirt
to show us his heart, all flaming and thorny,
the way he points to it. I'm afraid 


the way I'll miss you will be this obvious. 


I have a friend who everyone warns me
is dangerous, he hides
bloody images of Jesus
around my house, for me to find 


when I come home; Jesus
behind the cupboard door, Jesus tucked 


into the mirror. He wants to save me
but we disagree from what. My version of hell
is someone ripping open his shirt 


and saying, Look what I did for you. . .


--Nick Flynn


flynn explaining the origin of this poem

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