Nick Flynn

  • BALCONY

 

  • The radio claims the secret’s
  • simple—it’s to always want
  • to know what comes next & to
  • let that want pull you back
  • from the ledge, again & again.
  • I have a friend who, the years
  • he was drinking, would every
  • night stack all his furniture in his
  • living room in front of the sliding
  • glass door, which led out to
  • the fifth-floor balcony . . . He knew
  • that once he’d had his first drink,
  • eventually—soon—he’d black out
  • & he worried he’d try to fly again.
  • Couch. Table. Chairs. Bookcase.
  • He dragged his furniture for years,
  • every night as the sun went away
  • & in the morning he put it all back
  • in place, never considering, not
  • once, that maybe he should stop.
  • The one promise I can make is
  • that I’m staying even though what
  • knocks on our door at night has at
  • its heart only my getting lost, even
  • though some part of it wants me
  • dead, which is why I feed it with a
  • stick. You’ve already met it, but it
  • didn’t show you all its teeth, it knew
  • it had to lull you in, it knew you were
  • skittery. It let you feed it by hand, it
  • let you put a finger in its mouth, into
  • its good, good mouth. It didn’t bite
  • down, not hard, not then, not yet . . .
Issue Three
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NICK FLYNN has worked, in previous incarnations, as a ship's captain, an electrician, and a case-worker with the working poor. His most recent book is My Feelings (Graywolf, 2015). The poems found herein are from I Will Destroy You (Graywolf, forthcoming).