by T. Dallas Saylor
​©2020 Micheal Froio Photography                                                                                                                  Facebook
IG: @mfroio                                                                                                                                                           Twitter: @MIchaelFroio
T. Dallas Saylor is a PhD student in poetry at Florida State University, and he holds an MFA from the University of Houston. His work meditates on the body, especially gender and sexuality, against physical, spiritual, and digital landscapes. He currently lives in Tallahassee, FL.

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. 

© 2020 West Trade Review
Home    About    Subscribe    Guidelines   Submit   Exclusives   West End