ETIKA ON THE BRIDGE
On June 19, 2019, YouTube gamer Desmond “Etika” Amofah goes missing in New York City. His body is found in the East River five days later.
Under a white sky, your nose
shakes in front of the camera
held too close, your sorrys
and goodbyes washed out red
in passing sirens headed
to someone else’s tragedies.
It will take days for them to find
your backpack on the bridge,
and inside, your Nintendo Switch,
your final friend on that death walk
away from your blown-up image, mental
illness, family and fans you ran from.
Etika, what did you play to soothe
your body before death? I see you
on the twilit bridge, like a scene
from Zelda, the Bridge of Eldin, maybe,
reclined on a metal beam.
One or two walk by with dogs,
don’t notice you. Only the gnats
that lilt in the heavy summer air
can hear your breathing deepen,
or see you start to sweat beneath
a sky whose orange is deep
as a wish. Even now
you save before quitting—
in a game, too, there’s permanence,
gravity—then you tuck it in your bag
with love, and rise.