BEFORE. BY COREY RUZICANO

the day we drove down to the canyon

the air seemed alive with promise.

           the desert so dry it generates static electricity

                my brother tells me on minute twenty three

                       of the longest phone call we've ever had

            you can shock someone with the slightest touch

the day before we drove to the canyon

we drank instant coffee

and warmed tortillas on the stove top

and told each other things we hadn't before

the day before we drove to the canyon

i was someone else.



looking at the people

looking down into the canyon

looking at the ridges on either side of all that nothing



the boy in the blue striped shirt

tells his mother with tangential authority

             if you dropped right here,

             you could tumble

             all the way

             and all the way

             is a whole mile down

i am amazed that he can imagine a mile

                   that at 27 i cannot conceive of how long a mile really is

                                 can still only conceive of the few inches in front

                         of my bare feet



someone else's grandfather cocks his head to one side

and tells this someone-else's grandson

and you know how long it'd take ya to get to the bottom?

all the way till your next birthday.



i look out into all that opposite-of-something

and recognize myself

more in this nothing

than in any other something

like a mirror

all this air on the way to being



i think of that fall in

to the canyon

in and out of years

and time bending like space

                  of which at 27 i am less able to conceive than i was as a boy

                  in blue stripes

                  and somehow still

                  can

imagine

if played in reverse

all of life might look something like that

one tumble into the next

traceably linear

in retrospect alone.



dizzy with height

and the wonder

i look out

and am different

in a way you wouldn't see if played through the tape of that fall

no different from one frame

and the next

no different at all

except the expansion

of the space between

every atom

i look out

and i thought i knew what grand meant

but it turns out i was wrong

September 25, 2019