Russell Jaffe


You're camping after being broken up with for the first

Hands be damned, you're sick of them. Look to your wiggling feet. The clusters of
flecks. The whale-pretty lull of floating. The driver's seat and the cold earth under

your jeans. This playtime you miss. And in big country, your world has pull. Sleep
outdoors. Whisper your sads to the campfire, but really to your friends. But

waiting your turn to talk is never listening. And you feel this in your human core like
a leaf. And how close we come every minute to getting hit by asteroids--another

day as a spinning mobile. Another night as curtains that don't close all the way and
embarrassing teenage sheets. Rest your humanity to the apathetic ground tonight.

Your friend lives in the woods. And you joked about phones in birches where you
could order pizza to the forest. You'd say, bring it to the rock, the big one.

Looking to a childhood friend for an oak heart that catches sob stories like a
butterfly net is like expecting a nude body to teach you about community.

But sleeping in a sleeping bag without a tent in a backyard clearing might as well be
an acknowledgement that you and your friends are orbitless rocks and that

the life on them if they don't burn up in the atmosphere generally goes
unnoticed and is small. And this is big country, don't forget that gravity.

Name each constellation for a friend or a parking lot in town and like pine cones
their faces are a confluence of ashy masks.



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