The new goodbye, aloha, bon voyage,
Godspeed—last words that may not be
last words. A hint of hope in them
like waiting for a favorite song on the radio,
also terror we might never share a next refrain.
Stay safe, I tell you. Translate: Please
don’t die or serve death on your finest china.
Stay safe, you reply. I know what you mean.
There are voices that whisper &
those that shout, but honest prayers
are the ones we keep to ourselves.
Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming 2021.