The year is 2011. I'm at a nightclub

in Bushwick, figures silhouetted behind me

in a Gaussian blur.

Green lasers constellate across my face

in shapes that I would later try to trace

as if the answers were in them bound,

could be found in the empty spaces

between one plotted point

and the random, verdant next.

I am making an expression

that I have never made again,

or it could be that it was

the light itself, meant to find me once

and not once more.

I had just turned twenty-six,

which at the time felt singular,

different from the year before

and the one before that

when I stood on a curb

watching a boy bike off into the night

without a light or helmet,

confident he was fated to die

young and beautiful.

That fall, an early snow swept through the city,

frosting the tips of the shrubs that lined

the sidewalks of Rivington Street

like little rows of boy band armies.

Things were different then,

the way they always are

before they change:

Same light. Same air.

Same wind that proves the skin

that separates the outside

from within, gleam of stars

that pulls me toward a past

I can’t yet see,

whose light is still

unwinding, not yet found its way

to Earth.