Alternate Ending

2020-05-14T12:25:14-04:00May 14, 2020|

By Jason Irwin

In this version we ride our bikes by the lake, hypnotized
by the zinc-colored waves and clouds.
The city is a postcard of that place we always wanted to visit.
In this version no one has to wear a wig to senior prom
because of chemo. No one’s car is set on fire.
No one OD’s, drowns, blows their brains out with a shotgun,
or dies in a high-speed police chase. In this version
your mother is young and beautiful.
No one’s house is repossessed. No one goes off to war
or prison. In this version your grandfather is working in the garden,
whistling. The Buffalo Bills finally win the Super Bowl.
In this version we’re happy with the people we’ve become.
We’re immortal, for at least as long as the credits roll—
feeling a tingle in our balls as we stand next to the train tracks in our t-shirts
and watchmen caps, as a westbound locomotive rumbles past. ■

 

 

Jason Irwin is the author of A Blister of Stars (Low Ghost, 2016), Watering the Dead (Pavement Saw Press, 2008), winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award, and the chapbooks Where You Are (Night Ballet Press, 2014), & Some Days It’s A Love Story (Slipstream Press, 2005). He has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in Pittsburgh.

Cover image by Paul Comstock (Creative Commons).

Belt Magazine is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To support more independent writing and journalism made by and for the Rust Belt and greater Midwest, make a donation to Belt Magazine, or become a member starting at $5 per month.

 

Get the best regional writing sent straight to your inbox.