Back to Issue Thirty-Five

No Man is a Skylight



I find him drunk in the attic again;
I just wanted to see those glow-in-the-dark stars

that we had on the walls as kids;
something about the color green has always scared me,

if you look too deeply, you see a bog,
a parakeet, a cat’s eye, a sign,

a God, your cousin on Easter,
singing songs by Prince and

sweating like an ice sculpture;
my cousin was the first man I ever saw

turn to an overworked ox;
he was facedown in the living room

with his children’s feet atop his wet hide,
our whole family heard him moan;

after his second divorce, he tried
to sell me knives and other cutlery for half off;

this is all to say
that I am thankful

that we don’t live in the same house together now;
we are separated by a maturity

and a distinct preference in white wines—
yet we are still related, our arthritis hits synchronously,

but now when we crawl into the attic together,
he tells me that the fake green stars

are much worse than they used to be;
he looks at my pierced ear and says

what a good star should be:
radiant zipping polygons,

the kind that turns a bruised knee or a mosquito bite
into a moment of noticing, not at that second,

but during the next day or the one after that;
I don’t believe him for a moment,

and he sees that I don’t; he pulls out a cigarette
like the French noir films taught him to do,

but then he breaks the one window in the attic,
I don’t know who taught him that,

and he tosses the pack of smokes out into the yard;
waste of good cigarettes, I tell him,

waste of good stars, he says.


Luke Coombs Misiak is a poet from Chicago. His poem “Blue Empire” was awarded second place in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Awards at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2020. He admires intersections of the mundane and the surreal, can’t decide his favorite tea, and has second thoughts about owning air plants.

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