Summer 2021 - Poetry

Jozie Konczal

When I Play “All Too Well” in the Car in Autumn, I Can Pretend You Are Alive

 

even I must forfeit every new note

written since the rain brought the spring

petals to their knees, even

 

if it means never ending autumn, forever

watching as the leaves outside our classroom

window carry their own caskets

 

to their graves. If I’m quick enough to start

it over, shoot the arrow back to the incomplete

C chord before the action falls, I can save myself

 

the trouble of building a bridge over

the bathtub I dreamt you into and can’t swim

my way out of. I can tread water for those

 

five shared minutes. Inside “All Too Well” you

and I watch trees turn their pages as though

from a great distance in the safe arms

 

of denial. We are both sick with nostalgia

for a time we thought we hated: stretched

afternoons, the long retired train tracks that

 

broke their promise to deliver us. In those

minutes I pretend you opened the seven years

of letters I keep sending about all the ways

 

the sun has found to kiss the skyline

and seal the day away. Without interrupting,

perhaps you admire how I roll the joints

 

now, or we talk about quitting.

The road speeds by and we remain

inside. The trees let go and I don’t

 

resent them for it. The sun can sleep

free from fear, by which I mean,

it wakes again tomorrow.

 


Jozie Konczal reads and writes from Alexandria, Virginia. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University. Besides poetry, she feels passionate about music, nature, and the protection of the world and its people. Jozie works as a freelance writer and as a staff member for Cleaver, a literary magazine based in Philadelphia. She considers herself to be an amateur yogi and an experienced napper. You can find her on Twitter @joziekonczal, and Instagram @yunganxietyoffical. To read more of her work, visit her website at joziekonczal.squarespace.com/publications.


This project is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council

Illinois Arts Council Logo

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.