Triple Play

(older things)




Everyone knows what must come

regardless of choice, illusion of freedom.

And even as we sit, comfortable in our old


places, watching the wind as it moves

the rain, textures like the tree of life form

in the circles, the flurry, secure in the coming

morning, as certain as we are in every nightfall,


somewhere, just like every moment,

another face breaks, another being crumbles,

another shattering second

steals assurance, answers a plea.



Afternoon and Late Nights


She kisses my neck, under my chin. Such gestures among strangers are chilling. Lower, lover, let your lips slide over my shoulder. If it were dark I could tell her this must end in sadness. Why my weakness, my fear, makes everything red turn gray. Which is as honest as saying it might end in shared tattoos, a passionate moment in the park, or that living together would inspire me to write something pleasant about her.

An ending obscured in accents and food means as much as any promise of love or commitment.

Her words could be said by anyone, anytime, but I believe when she says they are for me. She looks into my eyes and I am unsure if she looks for lust or if she wants me to trust her more than I should trust any stranger, regardless of a perfect smile, a crooked wink, subtle hints that it might be worth falling. And in falling, find that the tumble is not a downward slide, a pleasure ride that ends in a pile of sand, filled with the laughter of children, but a drop, hard and flat. So surprising and sudden that when I look around, the world has changed, colors are new, staleness has vanished and the wind tastes different off her skin.

She touches my hand then my arm. A sigh. She walks to the car, drives away.

When she is gone, when the breeze caries off all trace of her, when the ground beneath my feet grows solid and the whisper through the trees stops making sense (the shock of the fall numbing away), I can open my eyes, wipe my chin and check for marks.

I never find any.


Tun, Tan, Getan.


Summer 1985.


Low. Under passing

airships, I slip undetected into

the backyard, up to your sliding

glass door. Low. All fourteen


years of you opens up, invites the devil in.

Chocolate and raspberries spread neatly

on the top bunk in your room. Sheet draped

loosely over you and the edge


of the mattress. Outline of your rounded

shoulder peaks beneath your hair. White skin,

pale like the sky fast turning dark, turning away

from us. Climbing the stairs to the attic loft


where you sleep when nights are too hot,

where you hide your secret things.

Everything lives here: the night shadow,

ghosts of dolls, the kisses we shared

the summer before. They slip in and out


between old phonographs and rocking chairs.

Your arms wrap from behind around my waist,

your breath short on my back.

You never speak.





About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

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