the most often thing (nature is a force)

Underwater, you’re almost free
If you want be alone, come with me
“Rylan,” The National


the most often thing
was his heart lifting
out of his chest (it seemed)

the length of her legs
from bare knees to feet
and the joints along there

the most often thing
left empty and alone until
this of her filled him to bursting


nature is a force he said
not a sentient creature
an avalanche but not a squirrel

like loneliness she asked
sitting on bed’s edge in such a way
her hand resting atop her foot

later she was disappointed in him
welling slowly but fully into anger
like waves washing away a sandcastle


he began to imagine her
fourteen years in the future
layered unknowably around those eyes

how does anyone survive he wondered
the thousand little cuts of disappointment
that must erode the beach of their love

—P.L. Thomas