John Tustin


There are no wings 
on these feet now cement
or hosannas yelled from mountaintops at night
that once grew tall inside my heart

now that you have gone

but only the words you wrote,
inscribed in the book you gave me

thanking me
for sharing my beauty and light with

signed, simply,



I have these gauzy dreams,
everything layered in haze,
that I end up half-remembering
and then fade from me almost completely
when fully awake

and these dreams take place
in homes of my childhood
but also homes that don’t exist

and I’m a young boy
but also the age I am now
and another boy is there
who is my little brother one minute
and the next minute he’s my son
and he’s also neither.

I have these dreams
that she is you
and you are both someone
who only exists
in these dreams

and I love all three of you
but I can’t get you
to love me or pay attention –

you slip out of the room
when I’m busy with my mother
who I know is dead
but is also alive and talking to me,
standing in the kitchen
and cooking a turkey for thanksgiving;

or you remain unresponsive
while I try to get your attention
as the floor gives way,
telephones ring,
doors won’t unlock
and I lose my peripheral vision.

I wake up from these dreams
not remembering them
but they are still inside me,
right there with you
who is still inside me,
waiting for tonight.

Flights, Issue Eight, March 2023