The second lie

by Niall Firth

Start by telling them about that night I was lost,
adrift, a skinny ghost tripping through Shinjuku’s dirty
streets, hob-nobbing with yakuza, dizzy on shochu,
face shiny in the city’s thick wet heat. Or that morning
my legs dangled free from the helicopter door, Vietnam’s canopy
flattening like moss beneath my feet; cold hands toying with my chute
cord, weighing up the moment of drop, casing my landing spot.
Or there’s the one where I held my own on Oranienburger Strasse
at gunpoint and laughed off my attacker with drunk aplomb.
Or when I gave my best stories to a struggling screenwriter,
who made a bomb with a film off the back of it;
every mistake amped, heartbreak tweaked for the masses.
As I stick things together, tot it all up, I find
some details still count, but others do not.