You wake up in a mess

            of stale light.


The hour is later than you wanted it to be


            & your heart                your skin

both are on fire.



Some days

you wake up                it’s the enemy

surrounding you


& the heat that you feel

is a warning


to never let go

to always be ready



to summon your strength

            for what lies ahead.


What lies ahead


is just more of this slow time


the time that I spend trying

not to remember.

I fold into myself         & worry about this.


I forget myself best in the morning


when the outside world is quiet

            when the tree shadows

are just forming.



Always be ready


to disappear.


            The alternative to this surrender

                        is blind


            desperation                  to enumerate

            the things that matter most


            but I always fall flat

                        when I try to get specific.


Instead I just let myself get bland



those rhythms of loss   so certain

            my only comfort.



I’m there too               quiet

            or trying to be


so anxious & ready but learning new pleasures


            how to stand still

            how to let the wave hit me with force



while I try to focus                  try to keep

being                alert.


I write a new poem for you

everyday          each one sadder


than the last

though that’s not at all how I’m feeling.


Breathe in the clear air

breathe it in & let it go.


The real colors of this world

are enough.



Hit me with force


            instead of missing the movement



on all the wrong things.

            I predict all the outcomes.


                        I write down the conclusions.

            I forced it all to happen before


                        it did.               You wake up

in a mess of light                      an occurrence


that’s easy to miss

when you rush through. 


Nate Pritts is the Director and Founding Editor of H_NGM_N (2001), an independent publishing house that started as a mimeograph 'zine, and the author of eight books of poetry, including Decoherence, which won the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award and will be published in the fall of 2017. He lives in the Finger Lakes region in New York.