Three New Poems By Nick Flynn

"I’ll have another / child, a back-up, in / another city, with / another woman, just / in case."

Text to be Whispered by the Bedside of a Sleeping Child

after Tim Etchells


the deal: if you die

then I will be able to

drink again & no

one alive will even

blame me—this,

child, is

the dark wind in-

side, but it isn’t even

the darkest. Then I

think, I’ll have another

child, a back-up, in

another city, with

another woman, just

in case. Then

I think, I’ll call this

poem, text

to be whispered by

the bedside of a sleeping

child, so when you’re older

you’ll understand. Then I

think, this

isn’t even a poem.

The Child

The month my father is dying

I buy clothes too small for me—

small pants, small t-shirt, small coat

& never bother to return them.



your eyes—try to remember

the porn

you got off to last

night, the particulars—

anything? Now

try to remember that email

you neglected to answer,

the important

one, the one

where you heard a friend was

dying. Now try

to remember how much milk

is left in the fridge. Now


the color of your bedroom

walls? At the end of

the world, every

text, each mindless bag

of chips, all of it will flow

back, vividly & at once

as you

scroll, scroll, scroll.

Nick Flynn has received fellowships and awards from, among other organizations, The Guggenheim Foundation, PEN, and The Library of Congress. Some of the venues his poems, essays and non-fiction have appeared in include The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and National Public Radio’s This American Life. He is currently a professor on the creative writing faculty at the University of Houston, where he is in residence each spring. In 2015 he published his ninth book, My Feelings (Graywolf), a collection of poems. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.

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