The darkest hour is just before
the middle of the night.
Mishka Shubaly, “Destructible”
I climbed the infinite staircase
that leads nowhere;
it took me almost a decade,
a fractured ankle,
a fractured rib,
a broken tooth,
my peace of mind,
and half of my soul.
I played the eleven games,
those were happier days.
But I remember the rejection,
the taste of blood in my mouth,
a pitch-black bottomless pit
of youth and sadness.
I know how it feels to be depressed
at your aunt’s birthday party,
to think about death at the dive bar,
I know the strange looks you get
when you make jokes about misery,
I know how it feels
to spend the entire weekend
under a fortress of shadows and blankets.
Advil and beer for breakfast.
Black and white movies,
empty bottles of cheap white wine,
broken glass on the carpet,
suicidal fantasies at the supermarket,
tears at the airport,
cold sweat at the parking lot,
hot coffee and antidepressants,
shattered dreams and broken hearts.
That’s all that’s left:
Bad memories of the good old days.
Juan David Cruz-Duarte was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He lived in South Carolina for 10 years. In 2018 he earned a doctorate degree in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina. His work has been published in Five:2:One, Fall Lines, the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Jasper Magazine, Blue Collar Review, Burningword, Escarabeo, Máquina Combinatoria, and elsewhere. He is the author of Dream a little dream of me: Cuentos siniestros (2011), La noche del fin del mundo (2012), and Léase después de mi muerte (Poemas 2005-2017) (2018). He lives in Bogotá.