It’s always good to hold them.  

Like you’re young again, being held too, being cared-for back.  

Like you aren’t alone, or doomed to live like that.  

Almost had a child once.  Almost became a father.  

Sometimes you stand back from something and watch it pass you by, and there’s another you there – a you that might have come to be.  

But it’s just a mirage, something that only might have been.  Something that never really was.  

“You would be good father,” Mira tells me over the phone.

I stop in my walk home to light a cigarette.  

“Trust me, I have feeling,” she says.  

She’s not the only one.  

They tell me I look like I have baby fever.  

But I just like being the uncle.  I like pretending to be a dinosaur and chasing my nieces around.  Or snuggling up on a Saturday morning to watch cartoons.   

I like laying on the floor and drawing, or building with legos.  And I like showing them a trick or showing them how to do something.  

I think about the two people I ever saw myself marrying.  I think about the two people I Iever saw myself having children with.  

Then I think about where the train is headed.  Sometimes, it feels like you’ve already missed your stop.  

Sinking back into the feeling.  Into that gnawing anxiety.  

No one’s dumb enough or crazy enough to go along with that.  

I take photos.  

I remember Heather’s voice.  

I ask my little brother how she’s been.  She’s good. She’d love to hear from me sometime.  

But too much has happened.  Even if she’s family. She’s seen me in horrible ways.  

I like to wonder what it might have been like.  

How it might have been to grow up normal, or how it might have been to be a dad.

Sometimes, deep down, I feel like a monster.  

But there’s a hope or a desire that no matter how reprehensible or fucked up or hopeless you are, you could still create something beautiful.  

Under black end-of-October skies, I step out.  Fresh cuts in my head from the cutting-it-off-again.  Staring up at the branches moving in the night. Inhale and exhale.  

Inch a little closer to oblivion.  

Waiting for days to come and go.  Waiting for the clock to roll over, again.  

Waiting for the thing to come down.  For the world to stop. For a touch, a word, a sign.  

Already swallowed whole.