Literary Orphans

The Sun is Leaving the Hill Now: Four Poems by Joshua Preston

 

“How do you even know it will get better?”

How do you even know it will get better? It’s not.

I love you, mom and dad, but I hate almost everyone else.

(I’m getting happier now, almost—I am because it is all ending

after a summer of having almost no friends).

 

I love you, mom and dad, but I hate almost everyone else?

Tell everyone I got “sick” or something (it doesn’t matter). Again.

After a summer of having almost no friends,

this is no way to live … neither is it any way to die.

 

Tell everyone I got sick (or something). It doesn’t matter: again,

how do you even know it will get better? It’s not.

This is no way to live, neither is it any way to die.

I’m getting happier now. Almost. I am because it is all ending.


 

“As you know, I get tired”

As you know, I get tired of everyone (after a while).

I loved this house. Once. But it is so full of memories. Now,

I have the girls, but they don’t fill the vacant spot. In my heart

I’m sorry for not being a person that would make someone proud.

 

I loved this house once—but it is—so—full—of memories—now.

Please think kindly—of me—and forgive me. I feel calm, but

I’m sorry for not being a person—that would make someone proud.

I wanted to visit—you. But I am—going—around—in a dream.

 

Please think kindly of me—and forgive—me. I feel calm, but

as you know: I get tired. Of everyone, after a while,

I wanted to visit you, but I am going around. … In a dream

I have the girls, but they don’t fill the vacant spot in my heart.


 

“The sun is leaving the hill now”

The sun is leaving the hill now, I hope nothing else happens.

I have tried to think of some way to go on but can’t.

Cathy, don’t go in the bedroom. I know what I’m doing:

all will and determination to fight on has left me. …

 

I have tried to think of some way to go on (but can’t).

This is not an easy thing to do (it’s hard to do anything) for

all will and determination to fight on has left me.

Cathy, don’t come in. Call your mother. (She’ll know).

 

This is not an easy thing to do. It’s hard to do anything for

the sun is leaving the hill now. I hope nothing else happens

—Cathy, don’t come in. Call your mother. She’ll know.

Cathy, don’t go in the bedroom. I know what I am doing.

 

 

“I never really had any plans of leaving a note”

I never really had any plans of leaving a note, but

my mind has reached the point where I can wait no longer:

I wish to use my body as a torch to dissipate the darkness.

(My mind was never more clear). It has been a long day.

 

My mind has reached the point where I can wait no longer:

I don’t know why I’m here—I have no purpose—so goodbye.

My mind was never more clear. It has been a long day.

—My death needs to mean something, needs to be counted.

 

I don’t know why I’m here (I have no purpose!), so goodbye.

I never really had any plans of leaving a note, but

my death needs to mean something, needs to be counted.

I wish to use my body as a torch, to dissipate the darkness.

O Typekey Divider

 Joshua Preston is a prairie bohemian whose work has appeared in Minnesota History, The Humanist, Popshot Magazine, Rain Taxi Review, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including a 2016 Springboard for the Arts “Hinge Arts Residency.” You can find him online at www.JPPreston.com

Joshua P Preston Minneapolis Minnesota

Art by Marja van den Hurk and Stephanie Ann