When a sentence could have ended,
but it wasn’t.
In the mouth of the Nushagak River
the tides recede.
The endless sucking
muddy banks, the sun lingers
on the horizon, an orange dull-bright
suspended over the water;
the orb’s reflection stretched
and distorted by the
fuckyou-chops of the uneven ocean
who doesn’t want to be there either.
The ocean punches the boat punches your chest
when you reach for the net stretched beneath the surface,
swaying like ghost hips to nomusic,
and that goddamn sun
clings to the sky edge
at 12:17 AM
begins her ascent for the
45th straight hour.
Just hangs there
like the hesitation of the last dollar
before it descends
into a busker’s guitar case;
like the carouser that doesn’t want
that can’t go home quite yet,
the hosts don’t have the heart
to kick him out until he stumbles
into the curio with the porcelain birds;
like a former lover slowly
collecting her belongings,
her eyes stumbling
and you stop yourself from saying,
“I love you,” out of habit
the sun eventually descends
after a week or so.
No one comprehends the dark when she does.
Everyone admits how much they miss her
when she finally goes.
According to grammarians,
a semicolon is used
when “…the sentence should have ended
There are semicolons
in most my previous relationships.
when the relationship should have ended,
it was the moment she cheated on me,
for the second time,
with a homeless man.
In her defense,
she apparently thought he was really into camping.
the semicolon came
when she attempted to introduce cutlery
into our love life.
With a demonic sparkle in her eye,
she thrust at me repeatedly
yelling “How do you like it?”
It is one thing to try and steal somebody’s heart,
it is another to run after them
with a scalpel and surgical scissors.
the semicolon was probably the moment when we first met.
I tried to tell him that I don’t think I am gay,
but he went down on me anyway.
Two whole minutes of slurping spaghetti.
when you know the relationship is over, but it doesn’t end,
Like the Alaskan midsummer sun
lingering on the horizon,
before rising again,
refusing to let go of the sky.
it was when she told me she wasn’t hungry, yet I held her hair as she vomited the contents of the dinner she never ate.
it was the moment she began bleeding from both nostrils.
it was the moment she saw her life
as a hole
and tried to fill it
with as much Tylenol as possible.
Even when all the signs were there,
telling me that the sun has already set,
I attempted to repair a still-burning bridge.
While nobody remembers how to use a semicolon,
I use it far more than I should,
because I want to be the grammarian
that abolishes all periods,
I want novels consisting of
a single run-on sentence
continuing long after the last page has turned,
because no matter how terrible it gets,
there’s a moment when the sentence started,
when you knew the joke was stupid,
but she laughed anyway;
when your outfits were ruined by the rain,
but you kept dancing;
when you both left the party
to spin on the merry-go-round in the park,
There’s the hope the sun lingering on the horizon
will rise again
and the day will keep being today
as though there was never a yesterday.
I know how Rachel suffered
through my drunken stumbling and holes in the drywalls.
How Brittney never flinched
every time I called her a whore,
and then allowed me to take it back.
How Christina took the razor
from my trembling palm
and we both went to get help,
I keep holding on
because there are times
when they didn’t let go of me either,
because even when the sun goes down, it comes back up,
because we are all independent clauses
we all need to keep going
and going even when it should have ended.