You’ve Come This Far to Be No One

by Samuel J Fox

& its November again   shimmering in rusted yellow and crimson   the shadows elongating like the hours spent lonesome and afraid of losing what little you’ve earned   you’ve slept like a rodent under the I-440 overpass you’ve laid your head on the Waffle House table  slept in its booth like a corpse for two hours before being resurrected and forced to walk into the cold dawn  pink and open like a wound you’ve traded your dreams for: the instant gratification to survive another day

& you don’t believe you’ve used a day of the education   you’re in debt because of and you don’t believe it was ever a gilded ticket  to anywhere anymore & you read the paper at a grungy nicotine stained table outside of an ashy, high traffic coffee shop  and see that every human running for public office has been or will be compromised the day passes like a hangover and when twilight disrobes into darkness  the moon is a villain’s grin the city you love for its grit and moxy now spits on your shoes, blackens your eye

& suicide has always been an option   not a hotel room, checking in and then checking out  but a dwelling space for the fear you feed like an angelic stranger   entertaining it with affection like watering a garden of weeds & the more you feel lost   in a darkness of your own needle-craft you swaddle yourself in it hoping for comfort but disillusioned into numbness

& speaking of no-sensation   you say her name and feel nothing anymore   you might as well be dead to her you change your clothes three times a day    hoping to not be so noticeable to escape familiar gazes judgement or maybe even more justice    & you are on fire not for life but to scrape by to be able to imagine one day feeling joy again   storing up tiny happiness here and there like a magpie fascinated by the way a trinket flashes under sunlight

& the hope you once believed in   is faded like an ancient dogeared book  you’ve exhausted your treasures of friendship   of love of anything but this: your predicament where even the thought of death   sounds like sleep sounds like rest sounds like a promise because it is just not one you expect to fulfill this soon   returning your breath to the trees like a jilted regifting

& pity is something only the living do & so  you throw away sorrow to retrieve the gods of reckless love   from the coffins you nailed them in knowing, still, they won’t be able to save you   and the rain outside the window knocks like a jilted bride and you go outside with a glass of whiskey   and let it have you you shave your head, your beard, your chest until you are unrecognizable just another buoy in a sea of faces  longing to be lighthouses near a shore where what washes up sometimes survives but never thrives long before mankind has its way with it   or not

Samuel J Fox is a non-binary, queer poet and essayist living in Raleigh, NC. They/He is poetry editor at Bending Genres, a Creative Nonfiction reader for Homology Lit, and frequent columnist/reviewer for Five 2 One Magazine. They/He appears in multiple online and print publications as well as coffee shops, dilapidated places, and graveyards depending. Find Them/Him on Twitter (@samueljfox).