Watching Episodes of ‘I Shouldn’t Be Alive’ in Reverse

We like tears sucked into ducts, the way
waterfalls look running upwards. Viewed in reverse
the sea ejaculates helicopters and lightning.
Bears appear with limbs in loose jaws, healing
hikers and tidying campsites. A ribcage coughs up
buckshot. The mountain inhales its shelf of snow.
We like the hour condensed, flares asleep
in their nests, lifejackets stowed safely overhead.
We like to watch the ice beards melt, the sallow
eyes give up their yellow. Everyone grows handsome
and hopeful. We think it better to end at the beginning,
husband kissing wife hello, child tangled into arms.
We think love can exist independent of shipwrecks
and shark attacks or just that it can be enough,
just that you shouldn’t have to earn it.


Published in Night Train 2011.

2 thoughts on “Watching Episodes of ‘I Shouldn’t Be Alive’ in Reverse

  1. I don’t think that there are enough words in the english language to describe feelings. I read your story and it is such a deep concept and so thought provoking that it deserves more than just “amazing”, “incredible” or “cool”. Although it is all those things, it caused me to open my mind to something new and it turned from a story into a gift and a moment in my life that changed my trajectory just enough to make me a wiser person and view the world a bit differently. Thank you.


  2. Very insightful though, I never imagined watching episodes of that show in reverse. It does hold more promise of hope. We definitely do not have to earn the right to be alive.


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