“Small inconsistencies” by Christine Byrne

His hero complex, her tendencies
to explode, my
paralyzing necessity to witness

It’s too simple to say we grew up, that existing—   exhausting
August swallowing ocean

That I just don’t have it in me.

All beginnings revolve around knowing
she was perpetual summer

the days she’d get up
the days she couldn’t,
where I’d sit at the edge of the bed, wander backward

try to see what she saw in ceilings

Or the days she was the most illuminated
piece of junk, cardboarded, buzzing
demanding you watch her awake,
or his corner, the staring and sips—

We go running abandon,
he pulls her down & we laugh a little, and I’m quite ready to be
everything to him

I know it’s silly, even then, the dark, in the car,

to feel
The pointing motions of madness,
of brittled
invincibilities, his face half lit,
his eyes never coming quite back to me

Forget the pennied
breakdowns, long shadowed
ambitions we forged then gave up on

steps toward drastic conventions,
outdated rooms full of colors

like a stranger saying
he’d worked years to be mild and winter would leave him hungry

or the shadowed afternoons where she says so little
just cries and drinks and cries

As she swallows she says
she never worries
about people like me who are conscious, of every step, the ground, the way
things shift before falling

Through years of her elbows, is it worth it, tomorrow,
For weeks of years of life,

She peels off some of her hands

It’s just not in me, to know, as I take and wade,
What’s going on in her head

photo of Christine Byrne

Christine Byrne is a poetry student at the University of Connecticut. Her most recent work is soon to appear in Badlands, The Offbeat, Mistake House, Long River Review, & Bridge.