Illustration by Pedro Gomes

Listen:

I get this gravity from my mom’s side. My father was always thin
& I don’t mean to speak of him like he’s dead—he’s not

thin anymore. I know the earth pulls us closer as we age but his softer
body does not make me think of tombs. I think of passage & mirrors.

I am most aware of my body when it fails me. On a day we evade
Chicago, head out on a hike with Colin & Angie, I stop to rest

on large rocks & say I’ll catch up more often than I’d like.
They don’t judge me but I feel the difference in the way I am

in proximity. My relationship with my body/city has always been
complicated. I am never sure if it is mine. On the southside,

all the corner bars had Old Style signs that read Zimne Piwo
which is Polish for Cold Beer. My cousin Scott came to visit

& said, This Zimne guy owns a lot of bars around here, huh?
When I was six, we moved to the first suburb west of downtown.

In high school, the city was an escape. I’d skateboard
at the old Amoco building or hit an open mic off Damen

but always found my way home. I am on the outside & inside
simultaneously. I have stood, sometimes for what was maybe days,

on suburban el-train stops, just trying to get out of the rain.
I try to stand taller than I usually feel. I pull my hands back

behind me & lean forward to open my chest. In yoga, I think
this is called    stretching. I swear some days the memory foam

in my mattress remembers it hates me. Say my weight in the mirror
three times & it appears. When does my body stop being a goal?

As a boy in Chicago I could just be a mid-June wave crawling up
North Avenue’s      shore, fluid      as lip lapping land.

Dan Sullivan

Dan “Sully” Sullivan holds an MFA/MA from Indiana University. He is a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award and the Indiana University Writer in South Asia Award. His first book of poems, The Blue Line Home (2014), was published by EM-Press. Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School, edited by Hanif Abdurraqib, Franny Choi, Dan “Sully” Sullivan, and Peter Kahn, is forthcoming from Penguin Workshop.