Poem at Max Volume

Adam Gianforcaro

At this decibel, hearing transitions from sense
              to submergence. I am underwater, under

a glass pane of bloom and valiance. Vision
              blurs like a shot to the sternum, and soon enough:

an actual shot to the sternum. The room is a limb
              that fell asleep under the weight of another

depressive episode. No, the room is a mouth
              in the shape of near violence. It opens wide

with the tongue of altitude sickness. Too many times
              have I needed to catch my breath without the right tools

to do so. Water can only enter the body in so many ways
              before it chokes. And now it’s hard to swallow again, hard

to think straight. The floor is a hyoid bone cracking
              under the weight of a crowd at each other’s throats.

My first miracle was years ago: catching heaven
              from stage amps stenciled with rows of inverted crosses.

Adam Gianforcaro is the author of the poetry collection Every Living Day (Thirty West Publishing House, 2023). His poems can be found in Poet Lore, Third Coast, Northwest Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Delaware.

© Variant Literature Inc 2023