:: Article


By Nicholas Rombes.

She is applying to Miami, the one
In Ohio, or else Stanford. Or Lorain
County Community College.
She will take a train, she says,
From Ann Arbor to Columbus
But now the barista’s brains explode all over
The chrome machines for how you feel
About the stretched distance of steel
That will separate you from her.

“I’m leaving, you know, for good,” she says. “Dad.”
An epithet? Do you need a black sun to blot
Out the yellow one? Do you need an oval
To transform into a circle in a dark
Barn of magic to get your head around the fact
Of her slaughtering present-continuous leaving?

In the darkness, the darkness lasts forever.

The black tavern as if conjured.
You throw a dart. You hold then lose
A thought. You call Black Philip.
You pause Midsommar in your brain.
The glass-eyed barkeep asks what’s become’her?
As if he sees ten years astray.

Someone in the tavern kitchen
Is sharpening the knives.

The plowed black fields, Nick,
Of the unfertilized youth
Of your blank mind.

The night outside is soft.
This life, was it anything I wanted?
There are places on this earth
That say don’t go if you lay your ear to them, daughter.
Don’t go.


Nicholas Rombes

Nicholas Rombes is author of the novel The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing (Two Dollar Radio) and the 33 1/3 book Ramones (Bloomsbury), as well as the director of the feature film The RemovalsHis work has appeared in The BelieverThe Los Angeles Review of Books, and Filmmaker Magazine. He is a professor of English at the University of Detroit Mercy, at the corner of Six Mile and Livernois, in Detroit, Michigan.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, May 14th, 2021.