I spent the morning on myspace looking at pictures of my dead ex-boyfriend. The phrase my dead ex-boyfriend is syntactically ambiguous you can’t tell from it whether this boyfriend and I were together when he died. We were not. We’d been broken up for about two years. We were together for three then apart for two then he died. He died in a car crash that’s how he died.

Myspace is still with us. You could dogear this page literally or figuratively bookmark it set aside the volume or magazine or swipe to a new screen new beginning and find my myspace page or yours assuming you were aged fourteen to say twenty-five in the early oughts. The reason myspace failed isn’t because it was populist or ugly or bought by news corp but because it was hard to talk about: my myspace is harder to say than my facebook. The uncooperative cadence of the phrase my myspace page perfectly encapsulates the awkwardness of the early oughts when our story begins.
His name was Jesse but in the years between our breakup and his death he went by Jesse Ray meaning his new friends and his new girlfriend called him Jesse Ray. I never called him Jesse Ray. No one from our old group ever called him that. We all grew up together don’t talk about him much now maybe because we don’t know what to call him.

I remember his body best of all because it was covered in tattoos. Not covered that’s lazy. His body could not have been covered in fact because his tattoos were a secret from a few important people – his parents mainly and the people in their church. It’s not that his parents didn’t know him as I thought then but the him they knew was not the him I knew. There were at least three Jesses at the time of his death: Jesse, Jesse, and Jesse Ray. His parents knew one I knew another his new friends and new girlfriend knew a third. The only person who knew them all was probably his biological mom K she lived in Elko and knew everything. Jesse and I once fucked in the sacred vestibule of the Mormon Church in Ruth Nevada while his grandfather’s ninetieth birthday was taking place in the multi-purpose room down the hall and she knew about that for example. K had been a waitress her whole working life she was basically omniscient.

What Terrible Thing It Was
Two Poems