A Dark Thought

Author: William Xu

Winter sky, color of lead,

Lights mostly drained.

Standing, staring at the water,

Hypnotizing myself, the way

That kids do.

My face unclear on the water beneath

Fast-flowing, foaming

Shallow, shale stream.

With lots of leaves. Suddenly,

Moving slower and slower;

Now I’m the one moving

Falling into the water

Falling somehow upwards

Rising into the air

My heartbeat

Onetwothree! Thinking:

Every heartbeat is past and gone!

Every heartbeat is past and gone!

Black birches, dry yellow leaves,

A tree that’s partly dead,

Late as November.

Snow on the ground,

Darkest in the crevices,

You’d expect shadow,

Like a film negative

In a trance, fury, raging hurt:

Am I going to die?

My heartbeat

Onetwothree! Thinking:

Every heartbeat is past and gone!

Every heartbeat is past and gone!

No, I didn’t believe

That I would die.

As I leaned, gazed,

Hypnotized at the water,

My family and friends

Came in a colorful, rattling truck.

“Hey kid: what’s up?”

They grinned and laughed,

Next second they were past.

These people, so remarkable

Nothing in the world

Could ever replace them.

Then I had this

Terrible, terrible thought:

Them, too.

Onetwothree! Thinking

Every heartbeat is past and gone!

Every heartbeat is past and gone!

They knew nothing of it.

And I, just a kid,

Would have to pretend

Not to know what I knew.

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