a summer of sorts from the second floor
If I time it right, if the park is empty, if the lake littered only with sweet rinds and plastic loops boasts only birds’ heads bobbing amongst the garbage and reeds, if I wait, if the path back bends around, if time snaps, if my knees allow, if I pass only animals in the grass, if the green woods empty, if I pour out the water, if each bench hosts only globules of white shit and dark mold, if the turn is not a turn but a road, if behind all bracken snapped from carless trysts the beetles bore away unseen at ash trees, if I am lucky, if the only sound is the wind and its edges and mine—
When I was little I wore bracelets of glow sticks and stuck the loops around my ears like earrings lit by bright water. On a car ride home I twisted a loop until it snapped and left liquid light in green splatters across the seat, the door, my face and hands. I cried because of the smear in my eye but thought of Marie Curie with her pockets of radium and looked at my palms alit suddenly with the same weight, wanted that illumination, no matter the danger.
After I [verb, past tense] my hair, I turned feral like a [noun, animal]. I made what concessions I could with [proper noun, person in the room]. I said I was [adjective for deception]. I pointed to the [noun]. Inside my [body part], I felt only [adjective for despair]. When [proper noun, person in the room, not a mother] asked what was [verb ending in ing and beginning afterwards], I pointed to the [adjective] timeline. It was illegible, written only for [noun, animal, species unbeforeknown]. It was the size of [noun, place]. It smelled like [noun, memory]. The [noun, large as your hand] kept going. I garlanded it [adverb ending in -ly] with the [noun, color between two html codes] tips of my hair. The ash was only [noun, corresponding with the first verb].
Two mothers pointing out the geese to their babies, see those, they’re flying.
Once, in the middle of a heart break, I bought a ring that I did not take off my finger until the band broke this April. I wore the gold plate away the first year but bore the bent edge until the spell was past. When I washed my face and the ring split in two, I knew I no longer needed to carry the tether, that I had passed through. Now the metal is so thin now you could set it down and lose the start.
This summer indoors, tracking the same steps from window to window, watching the world pass my body like a living archive of time refusing return—to where? Every summer before now a memory of bare legs on the grass, condensation of violet heat, hand brushing hand. Now, only the open window and sound below, the breeze lifting the curtain.
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