The world was paper. The bushes were perfect steps,
and a bold green. Like they had extra life. Or none
at all – eerie. I didn’t feel cold. Then I realized:
I had no heartbeat. I reached for my chest
but everything was composed
of tiny blocks – my hands,
the ground, ageless,
and I didn’t feel.
The whole world was painted on a single, sterile wall
to my left. There was nothing to my right. Nothing.
I couldn’t even look that way at all
but I knew.
Clouds were flat and airless. Nothing moved
but these numbers over my head, buzzy,
counting down. En, en, en.
I stepped forward and something with eyes waddled at me
on the singular road. Something like a mushroom
but wearing shoes, and I said, just a reflex,
“What do I press?” And turned to run
but I couldn’t go back.
Something held me.
That was the first time I died.
When I came out of it the world was dark
and I had slept two days. Mike told me
what happened. What I did.
I don’t remember.
Too many mushrooms.
When I woke again there were ducks at the window.
The dog smiled, had a breathless laugh,
and sank like a ghost.
But I don’t know. Sometimes even madness can save us.
Everything was blue and green again and so,
so beautiful. Sharp. Bright and new
like when I was a kid
and only dreamt
I can’t wait to play again.
Adam Ai is a Puerto Rican and Basque poet and U.S. Army veteran from Los Angeles. His poems have been published in various print and online publications. He lives with a Ghost. Hobbies include time travel and teaching robots love. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @AdamAiPoems.