101: Postcards from the Labyrinth

101: Postcards from the Labyrinth

101: Postcards from the Labyrinth

Postcards from the Labyrinth

by Johnny Lorenz

Read the automated transcript.

I was banished from my mother’s sleep.
Never again would I be held
by her small night,
without a pillow, unaware
Of the need to be happy.

Other punishments awaited me.
I was taught to spell my name.

I was left alone with my body,
which never spoke to me.

I learned to count my days.

Money was given me
but never to keep.

I moved between the machines
that outnumber us.

I discovered wine:
every bottle a journal of twilight.

There are secret codes of grief.
I know the phone number
for the house I lived in as a child.

So many legs cross
the empty streets of my eyes.

Once, the A train drifted away from me
as I sat on the F.
I saw the face of a passenger
there on the other side,
and then I lost that face forever
in the labyrinth
beneath the labyrinth.

From an airplane,
I studied the smokestacks below,
the power plant and quiet offices lit
by late-night janitors.
I floated above the floor of stars.

Who will write an elegy for us,
the saddest of species?

How will the birds name themselves?

It was April,
and my love asked me:
Is this the last snow?
One never knows such things
until later. But I said yes
so I could miss the snow
as it was falling.

"Postcards from the Labyrinth," from EDUCATION BY WINDOWS by Johnny Lorenz. Copyright © 2018 by Johnny Lorenz. Used by permission of Poets and Traitors Press.