Like Sleep to the Freezing by Andrés Cerpa


Somewhere in summer my friends are burning through cane and cold beers in a ‘twas heaven
prayer card.

Between now and there I don’t say much more than, How’s the weather? to the rain.

It turns to snow.

Winter is the knife I carry but never use & we’re dying but dying slow & that’s life.

You scared?

I’m no longer sure my friends can save me.

But once I dreamt that death was a struggle for the last words you don’t find, then you wake
& everyone’s there playing Wiffle ball again.

In the house we shared there was static & the trains shook the windows as they left.

I want to shake like that again.

The grass is always greener & the dead think so too, but they learn to let go.

I haven’t.

My jacket’s been stitched in dear Lord & late birdsong; in black branches & ice.

And my youth, I hold it, like a stovetop holds a blue flame, or how a child holds
a revolver: guilty, thrilled in a black corner of the attic.

This is the brutal joy of moving closer to sleep.

Your head on the bar while we dance.

I’m walking through snow now, banished, not saying much & hoping I can become
like you: stripped of every decadence: light as the light on the floorboards.


ANDRÉS CERPA was raised in Staten Island, New York. He has received support from the McDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His poems can be found in The Kenyon Review, The Cider Press Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, Devil’s Lake, Perigee, and West Branch.