On the evening of your thirtieth birthday I am giving both of us the gift of letting you leave (of continuing to let you leave), despite my body that calls out in support of the strange tingling for you in the bottom of my everything. On the evening of your thirtieth birthday I am yelling at my uncle and at his friend in the cool twilight of a Montana July Sunday and feeling my spine split completely from itself inside the flesh of my back.
This morning, so strange on a Sunday, we heard the high Woop of a man wanting to be noticed at the top of the Bench behind the house. We looked and could barely notice his body up in the brand new radio equipment at the middle of the already too-tall tower. My mother waved her arms and all I could think of was J, tumbling drunk from a water tower less than half that height, the scar on his back, the leaking of his spinal fluid across his buddy’s couch, his face, his hands, his telling the story over and over that morning in the hot light of my east-facing apartment. His body so easy, so easily restless. His promises, his soliciting of promises. J tucking in his shirt and running his mouth.
On the evening of your thirtieth birthday I am watching the powerlines more carefully than usual. I am reading the shit lines I wrote about you months ago and folding them like soft batter into the recesses of my flesh. On the evening of your thirtieth birthday I am breaking my own heart so that you are spared the task of doing it slowly over the expanse of our lives. I take that soft beating flesh into my own hands and pummel it ceaselessly. It makes me stronger, later. It butterflies me now.