Steven Sanchez – After

Steven Sanchez

Editor’s note: This poem is best viewed on the full width of a desktop or laptop screen.


I ride my bicycle


then a paramedic asks me my name.


She asks me the year.
                                                            It isn’t. I blame
                                                            the presidential election,

                                                            as if my mind wants to erase
                                                                         the white house,

                                                            this crash,

                                                            that’s happened
                                                                                                      this past year— 

                                                                                           you who left me
                                                           after eight years, 

                                                                            after I cheated
                                                           with a man who would kiss me

                                                                                        in public.

The emergency room doctor says
I may have a brain bleed,
              a concussion,
                               a broken nose
                                              or jaw.

                                                           They dab 

                                                                                                      my brow

                                                                              with gauze

                                                           to stop

                                                                                                      the salt

                                                                              that stings

                                                           my eyes

They ask me how I fell.

                                          I only remember how you woke up
                                          from each seizure and would ask

                                                                                                      What time is it?


                                          the doctors later told you,
                                          caused by stress after

                                                           eight years of
                                                                                                      sleeping in
                                                           a bed
                                                                                                      with our two dogs
                                                           between us 
                                                                                                      where our hands
                                                                                                      had once touched.
                                                           I found
                                                                                                      te amo
                                                           mi amor,
                                                                                                      —that engraved
                                                                                                      halo seemed like it fit
                                                           around my finger. 
                                                                                                      You pawned it
                                                           I found
                                                                                                      you collapsed,
                                                           Tux and
                                                                                                      Teddy licking
                                                           your mouth,
                                                                                                      your lips pursed and
                                                                                                      Without thinking
                                                           I shouted
                                                           and turned you,
                                                                                                      I laid by your side
                                                           and held you,
                                                                                                      as if I was
                                                           still your partner,
                                                           wake up,
                                                                                                      wake up, Babe,
                                                           you have to
                                                                                                      leave for work.
                                                           Eventually, you did.

I was pedaling my bicycle


you texted me
I don’t feel so well


                                                           I sped to your apartment,
                                                           each curb corner
                                                                                           a nightstand,
                                                           each traffic light
                                                                                           a door knob,
                                                           each speed bump
                                                                                           a person not waking,


                                                           If I got home in time,
                                                                          I couldn’t hold you
                                                                                      too tightly—

                                                                                                    I might harm you more.

I ride my bicycle

myself. Consciousness,
                                                           I hope,
                                          before death
                              like our last kiss
when your lips
               into another man. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: