There Are Many Kinds of Obedience, But My Favorite One Sucks

James Leaf


I guess you’d call it fear worse than pain, given

to crashing blues now greens now blues again:

magic in a plastic shell if you were a large man

with small whistle. I was once vacuum-packed, too,

and shunted into the path of the 230-pound future corpse

of one overworked high school running back,


and found myself trapped where the earth folds back on itself

and doesn’t fall, which many have visited without noticing,

where the snowmelt is rain and sometimes two drops meet

and become one, and they, now it, are joined by

millions of drops and they, now it, are given to freezing

and thawing into shapes opposite the ground around them.


I don’t mean to imply that he will stay 230 pounds until death,

but rather that he will one day weigh the same as me,

which is to say that he will weigh exactly nothing, and,

long after we are both dead, all the oil stains I’ll leave on

driveways will still be there because rain ain’t shit compared

to the messes I can make.