The Second Coming

by Aaron J Styza

During the first months of your absence,

I gave up drinking, then started drinking,

kept the phone line open, awaiting word,

read William Butler Yeats’s collected works.

 

I’m not sure what I expected. The town’s changed,

buildings erected, razed; the boy that went missing–

it seems just weeks ago–has finally been found:

he’s thirty now, a man, and works at a gas station.

 

I’ve learned to sleep through everything, car alarms

and road construction, even when the neighbor

leaves her television set blaring televangelists

who proclaim all night the coming of Christ,

 

how the tombs will slide open and the dead

will rise up and be judged. I prefer the Home

Shopping Network, hawking blue jade bangles,

mother of pearl, and sterling silver bracelet cuffs.

 

On those nights, I’m like the king I read about,

who, fearing that his fortune would be stolen,

wore all his jewelry to bed under his striped

silk pajamas. I don’t think you’ll ever return,

 

but if you do you will not find me working

at a gas station counter. I’ll be dead asleep,

my body so heavy, weighed down from all

those jewels and gems I’ve been dreaming.

About the Author

Aaron J Styza received his BA from Eckerd College and his MFA from University of California, Irvine. His work has appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, Aji Magazine, Two Cities Review, Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, and Heron Tree.