Through by Aaron Coleman


            after A. Van Jordan

through (→) prep. 1. In one side and out the opposite or another side of: As in, after days of wandering, they finally carved a path through the deep woods; the littlest of them all couldn’t help but stare at how the standing water had soaked through his socks. When he opened his mouth to speak, the bigger ones looked right through him and continued forward toward the cave’s mouth. 2. Among or between; in the midst of: She watched him gently as he fell through his mind. They chose silence because the sound of their fear travelled so clumsily through darkness. 3. By way of: Through sex, they spilled loss and time. Through sex, they learned to desire their most intimate disguises. 4. a. By the means or agency of: She learned how to distinguish between different kinds of smiles through her trips to the general store with her mother, grandmother, and later on through her daughter. b. Into and out of the handling, care, processing, modification, or consideration of: They shuffled his application through the unemployment office at the same speed he went through each job. His stint on the steamboat casino was his favorite; he remembered the first moment the chips no longer felt like money; the way colors began to blur, passing through his hands like the gray chaos of river water. 5. Here and there in; around: He was sure there was something else speaking through his veins besides blood. As they walked through the antebellum home, he couldn’t believe the way the smells forced their way through his clothes, his skin, his nostrils; the staining scent of cigar, the musk of sweat and shame, the lingering hints of salt pork, sweet corn, and gun powder. 6. From the beginning to the end of: Through it all, he had known deep down that he had never wanted to be there. He didn’t know why he stayed through the rumblings and through the shatter; why didn’t he just say he had to go? He laid there through the night; eyes open, mouth closed. 7. At or to the end of; done or finished with, especially successfully: They were relieved to be through each passionate phase of pain. They were through with every claim except exhaustion. 8. Up to and including: They went through the first eleven pages of the manifest without finding his name and he watched the man’s eyes as he scanned throughthe last one. She had gone through all her options; there appeared to be no way out. 9. Past and without stopping for: For years, they touched and moved smoothly through only the bodies they didn’t love; together they devised a plan and plot to get through the smaller deaths and desires. 10. Because of; on account of: She thought she could manage to survive through silence. He was sure that he could survive long enough through some combination of his grip and feet.


Aaron Coleman is from Metro-Detroit, a Fulbright Scholar, and a graduate of Kalamazoo College in Psychology. Aaron has lived and taught poetry in locations including Kalamazoo, Chicago, Spain, and South Africa. He is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow in the Creative Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis.