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Text to be Whispered by the Bedside of a Sleeping Child

after Tim Etchells

Here’s

the deal: if you die


then I will be able to

drink again & no


one alive will even

blame me—this,


child, is

the dark wind in-


side, but it isn’t even

the darkest. Then I


think, I’ll have another

child, a back-up, in


another city, with

another woman, just


in case. Then

I think, I’ll call this


poem, text


to be whispered by

the bedside of a sleeping


child, so when you’re older

you’ll understand. Then I


think, this

isn’t even a poem.

The Child

The month my father is dying

I buy clothes too small for me—

small pants, small t-shirt, small coat

& never bother to return them.

Dharma

Close

your eyes—try to remember

the porn


you got off to last

night, the particulars—


anything? Now


try to remember that email

you neglected to answer,


the important


one, the one

where you heard a friend was


dying. Now try


to remember how much milk

is left in the fridge. Now


—quick—what’s


the color of your bedroom

walls? At the end of


the world, every


text, each mindless bag

of chips, all of it will flow


back, vividly & at once

as you


scroll, scroll, scroll.


Graywolf Press

Nick Flynn has received fellowships and awards from, among other organizations, The Guggenheim Foundation, PEN, and The Library of Congress. Some of the venues his poems, essays and non-fiction have appeared in include The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and National Public Radio’s This American Life. He is currently a professor on the creative writing faculty at the University of Houston, where he is in residence each spring. In 2015 he published his ninth book, My Feelings (Graywolf), a collection of poems. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.





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