This Poem is a Sunset
Updated: Oct 4
The sky above split open, cracked
& it is no violence //
There are bodies on the shore below
& they are living, they are breathing //
My naked body is not breaking against the land’s edge,
is not asking to be brought back to life,
is not begging to be held or touched or fucked,
but is content with being bathed in the pink light
that slips through the crest of clouds //
The angels can tell you better
of how, when Empyrean peers through the fissure,
the human eye mistakes its colors for a sunset,
takes for granted the yellows & the oranges & the pinks
that bleed outward into the Earth’s atmosphere.
The angels can write it into poetry better //
I can no longer differentiate reverie from reality,
future from present. (The past is gone.)
It is no violence //
There are bodies on the shore
& the truth is, we could have wound up anywhere else.
We could have forgone grace for pleasure
between walls, within rooms, inside window frames,
on screens on screens on screens.
We could have split ourselves open
& not have survived //
Our bodies are so worldly,
they are capable of in-exhaustive violence
but the sky is the universe
sans the Earth,
(think of the possibility)
& you are alive. I am alive.
We are the universe
Patrick Schiefen (he/him) is an American writer and creator currently based in Koh Phangan, Thailand. While living in Shanghai, he was the Chief Editor of A Shanghai Poetry Zine and collaborated with various literary and storytelling groups, including Unravel, I Am Enough, and the Shanghai Writing Workshop.
He has had poetry published by High Shelf Press, From Whispers to Roars, and Ample Remains and short stories published by Zenith Lit Mag and Nymphs. His first book of poetry, If You Know, You Know, was published in 2019.
Check out more of Patrick Schiefen’s work at patrickschiefen.com