Walking Together at the End of the World
By David Ly
and calling you mine will be like naming the cosmic phenomenon
no one thought to look for in Scorpius, a burst
of violet light at the tip of its stinger
that sparked the reversal of poles scientists anticipated
for so long. We traverse hand-in-hand
across frozen seas that have engulfed metropolises
built to withstand the apocalypse, the ice
beneath our bare feet glows with pulsating orange hues,
twinkling pink and teal freckles on translucent skin
of a skyscraper-sized cuttlefish composing
a luminous symphony that peaks at a crescendo
of blinding white light. After rubbing my eyes, the frozen silence
is still what we see along with a single black eyelash
in my palm. You insist that I make a wish
before we move on—just as I am about to mutter the words,
a breeze twirls the eyelash off my skin and it dances in the air,
lengthens into a black and smoky tendril that splits
into writhing tentacles cradling
my frost-bitten face before they mould into hands
attached to arms glistening with a mercurial shine.
To what end are you imagining, David?
6:39 P.M., Parking Lot 7B
By David Ly
We’re going buddy
but you’ve already jumped
across the puddle, putting an ocean
between the both of you
where dry leaves float with crunchy edges
catch a breeze
sending them into collision with each other.
Tree-frog-green gumboots stick your landing
at the base of a young maple,
planted in this parking lot
to soften its concrete harshness.
The spindly sapling
shows its first-ever red and orange leaves
and they’re struggling to hold on
as the air invites them to dance
in the October golden hour.
Squatting, you push a finger into the dirt,
woodchips, and pebbles. I know you
know you’re being reprimanded.
Stop screwing around and get your ass over here.
You start poking around even more,
probing with childish intent for something
only you can see, something only
you want to be there. He stomps over,
Blundstones crushing into the puddle
sending mud and broken leaves
in all directions.
You’re yanked up by the shoulder
of your fleecy fox sweater, orange, ears flapping
on a hood that almost swallows your face,
the rope tail swings as you’re dragged away,
head turned, stare still fixed
on the spot you were digging in.
You’re practically slipping out of your sweater,
feet struggling to keep up with his pull, but you don’t
even make the slightest peep,
his forcefulness seems to be your norm,
as if it were the only way you could be moved.
Oh buddy, how I know it shouldn’t.
Transit Romance Guy
By David Ly
is denim on denim, denim jeans and a jacket
each morning in the same crowded bus
where the heat’s always too high,
a terrarium on wheels again and again every 7 a.m.
seeds of a romance he doesn’t know he’s part of
grow when we go our separate ways.
for the rest of the day denim dresses my daydreams:
he’s a student of botany as his dirty fingernails have stories to tell,
or he recently locked down his LSAT all nonchalant in light wash,
poor fingernail hygiene is due to construction
from the night before, working ‘till 3 a.m. helping mom out
because dad walked out a few years ago.
Transit Romance Guy has a good heart
despite the resting bitch face,
which would probably make us
the worst couple in the whole universe,
two men who look like they don’t care for anything
would probably be okay with everything around them
imploding, so long as we’re the only survivors.
Transit Romance Guy is a man with complexities,
of many nuances, a charming obliviousness
to how he moves those around him,
how he moves around in spray-on jeans
through my imagination all day where i hope he thinks about us,
how we casually nod to each other every morning,
coincidentally see each other again on the bus in the evening.
when the day is over, my mind is tired from running
circles around what to say to him.
to him, the day’s probably just another day
and i another face in passing. nearing my stop
i turn to ask him to pull the cord
but before i say anything, we catch eyes and everything halts—
his hand lets go of the cord
and the bus doors open.
Image credit: Erin Flegg
David Ly's poems appear in publications such as PRISM international, The Puritan, and Pulp Literature. He is the author of the chapbook Stubble Burn (Anstruther Press, 2018) and the forthcoming poetry collection Mythical Man (Anstruther Books, 2020). He can be found on Twitter @dlylyly and responds well to GIFs of Michael Fassbender.