Torschlusspanik (Already the Sun) by John James

Somewhere off the coast of our own

defeated world I approach
the mangroves, blooming. The wings


of a hummingbird

repeatedly buzzing. An orgy of rosebuds

shedding their dew. Tonight, another
silvery operation


in a room with broken light. Your brother, he lets me

turn on the night. Lets the dark fall over my eyes

so when I close them it’s booming. The hum of something
being torn apart.
The sound the sky makes.

I taste the soldering iron, a .45 nestled

safely on my tongue. It stinks


of seared skin. A cheek’s inside
smoking. If tonight

I die whistling, if I leave you

singing through my teeth, will you


remember me fondly? Will you scatter me freely
on a mound of frozen dirt?


Already the flies are swarming.
Already the sun shines

blankly on your chest.

It is almost too bright now, this room.


What’s left of the forest closes
swiftly around us

and I’m learning the halls

of my family’s smoldered home.

John James is the author of Chthonic, winner of the 2014 CutBank Chapbook Award. His work appears or is forthcoming in Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, Best New Poets 2013, and elsewhere. He lives in Washington, DC, where he serves as Graduate Associate to the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University.