The Last Jedi by Kristian Anfinn Tonnessen

Illustration by Gisela Levy

Illustration by Gisela Levy

I watched The Last Jedi last night,
and if that deters you from reading further,
I poured a cup of coffee for myself this morning.
There. Now
we are in this together. I had a realization in two parts–
walking into the water up to my waist,
then plunging the rest in altogether,
though it’s April, though it’s absurd–
that is how my mother taught me.

Watch your parents break a rule they’ve made for themselves.
Text their spouse and drive,
have that one extra glass of wine,
rescind unconditional love, fear strangers
and forget to greet them.

Now imagine all the rules they don’t have for themselves:
no rules against making
that exit ramp before the Delaware Water Gap,
no rules against
having no bank account, no ownership, $3.75 left over
for coffee.

I read once that no one writes about money in poems
because of inflation:
my children may not understand how three dollars
could buy a cup of coffee,
or why, though we never went hungry,
I have to count every dollar I spend.

And as for The Last Jedi–I let someone take me
and forgot about the past, which is something else
my mother taught me,
the self lost in cinema, so every week,
I go alone and find her. For me she is not stuck upstate
packing her mother’s belongings up,
does not only possess one bedroom, a Toyota Camry,
and a defective spine. She is there, and she is in the next empty seat;
she is the driver, or the passenger,
and we have both seen the bobcat down the road at the same time,
wait for the curtain of unbelievable rain to hammer us,
both gasp the shimmered beauty of an April blizzard
before I grow up, make money, become my own parent.

Kristian Anfinn Tonnessen is a graduating senior in Columbia College, studying Creative Writing and Russian Literature. He is curious about where the dozens of socks he has lost in the last four years have gone. Are they happy? Do they remember him? Instagram