“Intercession,” a poem of ascents.
I would do away with death if I could—
not the dying sense but the absence,
the void each friend leaves:
the lines on hospital beds,
first of Tyler then Andrew then Jon;
the traces of Josh’s shoulders in the seat
of a smoldering car in Missouri; the upended sand
where Madri fell with his motorcycle and the footprints
as he walked away to death—all this the evidence of
negative space between living bodies,
matter sinking into a theory
where it will cease entirely.
Yet there is a subtlety in unseen things:
the way Madri’s brain began to bleed
when they said he would be fine,
the way cancer reached into the lacunas of bone
and vessels of blood, the way there was no ice
on a bend of highway—it defies logic
that death demands a soul, and I was never present to hear.
I will dwell in this place where logic fails, bend before
the door, and ask that if death can take, life give more.
Aaron Brown is a novelist and poet who lived for ten years in Chad, Africa. An MFA candidate at the University of Maryland, he is the author of the novella Bound (2012) and the poetry chapbook Winnower (2013), both published by Wipf & Stock. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tupelo Quarterly, Warscapes, The Curator, The Portland Review, Polaris, North Central Review, Windhover, Saint Katherine Review, and jmww, among others. You can read more about his work at www.writingtheinbetween.com. He lives with his wife in Lanham, Maryland.