Sean Rys

If This Is the Truth

The world was empty. It had been this way all along, empty and unkind, but since it was nobody’s fault, nobody ever bothered to fix it. You were standing alone in your yard, for instance, with an arrow stuck in your chest. It was beautiful except for the blood. A few cars were on fire and everyone looked around at each other like they wanted to burn too. I was touching the parts of myself I knew you could not see. My eyes were closed, as they often were when the world got like this, and when I opened them there was a new world where the old world once was, and you were cruel like you always had been, and I was wrong, it was my fault after all, the emptiness of man, the arrow in your heart, the crossbow on my shoulder.

Beyond Town

We decided one night to see what was out there, past date groves and birds hunkered in cholla fields, far past what the maps in our pockets advised. It was mid-winter and we had grown tired of loving ourselves almost to death. That’s how it started. Took a long look at everything we called our own and packed only what we knew could not save us. You phoned your friends to bid them farewell and they phoned your parents and your parents phoned later as we loaded the truck to forgive us. But we were too far in front of our own lives to listen. We left. You drove until it looked like all the blood in your body had gone bad and then I drove. Big towns slipped by, followed by little ones. When had it happened? You opened your eyes and I opened my eyes and we were alone the way we’d always imagined we would be. Everything bleached. Beyond the truck and between dunes something like morning was shoving the sky right out of the earth and you were the first to say maybe we don’t belong here. But we had a promise to keep. We stripped the truck. The tools were heavy but it was work we believed in. Even then I could see how many years from now we would become those versions of ourselves we’d come here to bury. You walked in one direction and I walked in another. It was easy enough to go, and all too familiar.

Sean Rys lives in Tucson, Arizona. His poems appear in journals such as DIAGRAM, Indiana Review, Cutbank, Hobart, The Seattle Review, and PANK, among others.

A Song for Sean

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