for Mitchell Toolan
How the bad ones let us try, let us
see what we can handle ourselves
before they take ownership of our bodies.
They let us play the game, let us sweat,
and always seem to stack the rules against us.
In the dark hours I know I was close,
out there in the deep water, letting it fill
my lungs and cascade behind my skin
like a waterfall of broken-hearted tears.
It might be a sad truth that people will
not protect each other, but they can still
give each other enough hope to keep going.
So I swam as hard as my arms would
take me until I reached a shore, and
right now I’m running barefoot through
the thick of it, letting the sand cut my feet
until the blood cakes up between my toes.
It is not so much that they did not want
us to win, but that I can almost feel them
cheering in the distance, waiting to see
my battered mind and body arrive
holding my fist high in the air, and
hear the whole world roar.
“Damon and Pythias” at its core, is a poem about friendship. I wanted to take a spin on one of my friend’s favorite Greek myths and relate it to how he helped me out during a particularly dark period in my life. Without him, I don’t know what would’ve happened, and I wanted to write something for him as a thank you.
Nick Soluri is a writer from New York. His poetry has appeared in Five:2:One Magazine, As It Ought To Be Magazine, Ghost City Review, Boston Accent, Albany Poets, Occulum, and others. He tweets @nerkcelery