Wait. It was late winter and Orion lay close to the horizon,
dim over the pine forest to the east. I put out
my cigarette on the wall and went in.
I would have called my daughter
from the payphone in the corner,
just to check on her,
but I didn’t have a daughter,
or even a wife. I went to the bathroom
and threw up three times.
That was the end of several things.
It was too cold to walk home.
Light stuttered in my glass,
my hands trembled:
fireflies ready to shatter,
to fill the bar with their dust.
The bartender watched me silently.
Maybe, if there was something to take comfort in,
I could remember.
But day came through the pines a blue haze,
edged a road pockmarked with doubt
and doggedly straight.
So I went home.
And spent hours turning through phonebooks,
names smeared black
on fingertips, a straight road, a chasing.
If there was something to take comfort in,
maybe I could remember more than just motion,
two bicycles circling a cul-de-sac,
kicking up leaves, gray sky, blind houses, circling.
Wait. There was a night. If I had a daughter I would have.
I would have. Maybe I could remember.
A cold bar, glass dust
in lamplight, no,
no, a circle of constellations,
filled with names, unwinding.
Michael Castle received a BA in English (emphasis in creative writing) and a BA in Neuroscience at Kenyon College. Shortly afterwards, in 2006, he moved to West Philadelphia, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania.