We are Both of Us in Grave Distress

Playing with animals
makes you feel alive.
Running from them
does too.
I'm wearing my t-shirt,
and you're wearing
my other t-shirt.
Some of the wolves chasing you
have on matching jerseys.
But they are not worse
than my ghosts.
Some of the ghosts chasing me
are repelled by the feeling
of having loved me,
and not loving me now.
Everything in the whole park
is quiet at once,
except for our running,
and then I notice
we are in a park
I remember
from when I lived
in Brookline.
I want to ask you
if this rose garden
means anything to you.
Is an emotional comet
tearing across your gut?
I mean to ask.
But you're too far ahead,
and now you're gone.
You with your wolves,
leaving me
with my morbid ghosts.
Then the ghosts stop
to catch their breath,
and I do too.
There is no sound
in the park now,
and no you.
I want to pretend
to be brave
but who for?
I can't tell you.
It's too dark to tell
if night has erased
the whole park
and left us here
with the ghosts.
But it isn't the ghosts
which are the problem.
It is the dying.
It is the distances
between us when we do.

Kyle McCord is the author of four books of poetry including You Are Indeed an Elk, But This is Not the Forest You Were Born to Graze (forthcoming Gold Wake, 2015). He has work featured in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. He's received grants from the Academy of American Poets, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Baltic Writing Residency. He co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry. He teaches at the University of North Texas in Denton where he runs the Kraken Reading Series.