Jocelyn Sears is a poet and culture writer from California. She currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her partner and their preternaturally intelligent rescue dog. You can find her poetry in PANK, Apogee, CutBank, DIAGRAM, The Ilanot Review, and other journals.
On the way down the mountain, your body leaves you. It keeps hurtling
valleyward, fastened onto 14 lbs. of carbon
and rubber. There’s an impact you don’t
feel, the road scraping your flesh
across itself like butter.
Your skin opening, gravel biting into it, a seizure dragging you
into waking. Coming to—
that is, coming into. The wrecked body
of the Cannondale lies beside yours, grass
poking through the twisted spokes. There is grass in your mouth, and gravel.
too, trickling over your lips and curdling
in the sun. Your left eye glazes everything red.
When the pilot calls later
to find out if you’re dead, he says
he’s never seen that much blood in his helicopter,
and I picture the cabin filling with it like a fishbowl. They had to airlift you
out of there, torn Lycra
and skinless, while I was on the far coast
in my wholeness.
The MRI, the needles and scalpels,
the stench of hospital cleanliness,
the phone calls. Your teammates huddled
on the curb outside the emergency room, eyes
white as Dad strode from the car.
He didn’t call me
until he had a prognosis,
and I who would break any life
for your life
of my heart, my body is a dumb
animal. Your body is a dumb animal.
How violent, love, in the face of that.
In the mornings, when we are unborn,
a homeless light noses at the door.
In bed, your spine ridges
out of your back like a stack of fists.
The light does not find its way in.
So many yellow-wallpapered hours,
the window’s small expense—
I’m sorry, expanse of sky.
Time is a forest made of veils
and you float through it.
What I had hoped for
splayed open, leatherwing bat
I have been a penny
dropped from a high building.
What does it mean to deserve?
Soul like a knife in the body.
All the yous before you.
My whimpers are husks
you gather and wrap
with the pink ribbon of a kiss.
I don’t want to do to you
what the ocean does to glass.
We are the chosen ones—
we have chosen
In the end I only wanted
to be someone you would keep.