We got up (Tyler Dempsey)

What is this, Papa asked. When, having fun on the bed, Jane held what looked like a phone in her hand. Between her girl legs. Like this. When Mama whispered, You kids have fun. And, left Papa’s bedroom. This night of which we’re talking. This night, I brought Jane and Clara to Papa’s house.

Jane’s other hand—what it was doing, is what her phone was looking at.

Different, are things Papa saw ages ago in this wooded, hole-in-the-wall place. He’d never seen, in his ages, a girl, through the eyes of her phone, watch what her hand was doing.

Jane and Clara looked at each other like two naughty robbers. They giggled. You could be sisters, I said.

It was Papa—not me, saying it.

Through my lips.

Different, are things Papa saw ages ago in this wooded, hole-in-the-wall place.

Phones, didn’t whisper where roads curl like curlicues and people don’t live in the large houses set way back in the woods, when Papa lived here. But—before Papa lived in the made from dirt dirt—whispering, is a thing he heard them do.

Like they do.

Of where roads run straight. Like roads. And, way up, the shiny walls of buildings crawl. Where people come, to talk, and look up. But, don’t talk, or look up, together. Where—whether a person lives in the air you can’t breathe, or down in the made from dirt dirt—up, is where you’ll find them looking.

Whispering, like a prayer.



Tyler Dempsey is the author of a book of poems called, Newspaper Drumsticks. His work appears in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Bear Creek Gazette, Rejection Letters, and the like. He’s a fiction reader at X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine. Find him on Twitter @tylercdempsey


image: Susan Gutterman