Anser Journal

Later

By Tyler Jacobs

We gave up on sniffling and let our noses run. I spent a good chunk of the night watching our breath fog the windows of idle cars that smelled of stale cigarette smoke. We laughed at the objects I snuck into that stranger’s fish tank, artifacts we will have to learn to swim past one day. Bored of cleaning mirrors, J and I blew warm breath into our palms and wrapped our arms around ourselves under the glowing streetlamps feeling like 3am laundry.

The night seemed to extend its hours for us as we drunk jumped into the winter slush that collected in the soggy streets, howling at the moon we couldn’t stand motionless long enough to see. Sobering and cold, J patted his pockets for a key to E’s apartment that wasn’t to be found. We pound on her bedroom window. J notes that the plants in their apartment have begun to wilt and that he has been sprinkling water all over the floor E walks on for months. E would later tell me: I still have six months before I have to acknowledge my drinking.

We guzzled filtered water just to wet our throats because we were too busy wasting our youth by slapping our arms. I imagine that he often wondered where the people that never were are and why they weren’t with him, that he ached to be anything more than a person still in the making but he was the only one not learning to swim as I practiced holding my breath. Whatever it was that he had to say came in mumbles as I’ve once again began wiping my nose on the sleeve of my sweater. I thought of his unquiet hands and how his throat searched for something to swallow as if it was the first time he ever had to do this.


Tyler Jacobs currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Carillon. He is the recipient of the Wagner Family Writing Award Endowment. He has words in, or forthcoming in: White Wall Review, Runestone, The Hole in the Head Review, East by Northeast Literary Magazine, Aurora: The Allegory Ridge Poetry Anthology, Funicular Magazine, and LAMP Anthology, among numerous other journals.