dan’s rib cage

by Paul Christian

hogle hall is haunted

freshman year was a vortex in the hallway
or the floors were slightly tilted

not enough that objects slid off tables
just enough that our two two-bed bedroom doors would
tilt enough to close toward one another

*

a drunk french man from class broke our dvd player
made it so the soda machine doesn’t sell sodas anymore

a wounded hulking being humming silently alone and in a corner
it happens

*

if you are the drunk french man: hello, how are you
if you are not the drunk french man: hello, how are you

*

paul lives with ian

and across the hall
ian lives with paul

in this instance 50% of pauls are gay

in this instance 50% of ians are straight

the rooms are half of each

*

paul saw snow for the first time two months ago
the other paul not this paul
straight paul

not the paul that is writing this

hi i’m paul

*

between our rooms the vortex sucks the doors together
and one of the doors has a masturbation calendar topped with small green stars

amanda d______ and amanda d_______ share a dorm room
same honors, same major, same hometown

they’d never met before

amanda set her macaroni on fire and i hate her
taylor was bleaching her hair

*

up on floor three
a kid walks by the water fountain late on thursday nights
also the kid is a ghost

i just thought that you should know that that happens

*

my bed is parallel to my window
and propped on concrete blocks

snow falls in orange street-lit circles
and outside those the world drops off

the orange air in the orange trees keeps being

a freshman girl screams outside
alone and very loud

*

dan had a seizure kind of

he fell in the hall
he couldn’t see
he couldn’t feel the left half of his body
he was laughing, convulsing, made other sounds

*

it happens, why

*

ran for the ambulance
after calling for the ambulance

amanda stayed with dan
and amanda stayed with dan and amanda

wasn’t snowing
or even raining

in between the seizes dan was speaking

*

dan’s rib cage is too close to his heart

*

white night in idaho

dan’s car gets caught in a snowstorm

he burns print philosophy .pdfs in a coffee can to stay alive
until someone comes
and someone finds him and takes him to safety

*

after that dan would drive us grinning to the grocery store

a smoke-stained black jeep roof
burn halo on the back bench seat

*

dan would cook us dinner for no reason except
“it was cold
and you looked hungry”

*

things dan said while seizing:

it’s okay
i’m okay
don’t be scared
i’m sorry
please
i’ll be fine
i swear
i’m sorry
don’t be worried
don’t worry
don’t be scared
please, i’ll be fine
it hurts but
i’ll be fine
it’s okay
don’t worry

*

i’m sorry
we stood and stared while taylor called
i’m sorry

three unmoving verticals
one floorward jerking horizontal

*

dan’s rib cage is too close to his heart

i just thought that you should know that that happens

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