Nick Flynn


It’s calmer where we’re
not—look at

the clouds, moving rain
from tree to tree,

moving shadows. At
the bar we get an order

of wings, we use

our teeth, we take them
in, inside us now full

of wings. The air in here
is thick with words, it moves

around us, holding

the shape of us. Someone
paid to have

I LOVE YOU written

in smoke over the beach,
we watch it

turn back into sky.

My Twin

People see him everywhere—

he’s me if I were made
of rust. He was given away

at birth (hard to

say, maybe I was the one
given away). He’s

outside whenever I’m

in, inside whenever I’m
out. I pass him on

the threshold, a rusty nail
weeping up

from the floorboards, if I just had
a hammer
. . . even

you dream of him, this

version of me, who has to do
almost nothing to win

your love. I’m the one

lying beside you, I whisper,
I’m right here, but my voice is

rust at the bottom of a well. No,
my twin is rust, I taste him

in each sip, but will I ever

be rid of him? We share
a heart. And a brain. And all

this skin.

Good Times

What lives inside us

is monstrous, it comes out
of our mouths at

night, sometimes

as a song, sometimes as
a word, the word used to pry

the jar open, the word bees
sing in the hive. You

crawled last night in through
my window,

don’t you want this?

you asked. Your robe
hung on a nail, your name on

a piece of cardboard
tacked to the wall. I told you

how I’d climb to the roof
& toss appliances into the burned-

out shell next door—dead
refrigerator, dead stove, dead

washing machine—silent

as they fell. I woke up one day
with nowhere to be, cold

pizza in the backseat, my pick-up
sideways in the driveway. I built

that truck around me, I tried to
warn you, I tried to warn


poems and collages by Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn is the author of five collections of poetry, including I Will Destroy You (2019). He is also the author of four memoirs, including Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004), which was made into a film in 2012 starring Robert DeNiro, and has been translated into fifteen languages.

National Poetry Month 2022