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The Summer after They Crashed and Drowned

ISSUE:  Fall 2008

The moon changes and changes back
like a woman dressing and undressing,
taking her sadness on and off. We don’t
say their names.

We scramble over sandbars like they’re islands
we can conquer. Our skin gets knobbed
by mosquitoes as we squelch through mud
and catch frogs,

and hold them too tightly, and the inside of their bodies
comes out of their mouths. And we don’t say
their names. We lure wary schools of sunfish
with dead horseflies

and crust, and net them. We palm their hearts,
split open, and watch to see which stops
beating first. When they slow, we toss their limp
weight into the lake.

We close the curtains and scratch our sunburned knees,
admitting our fear of telephone wires and flying.
The falling dark bruises our cheeks. Blue summer stars
float around us.

We need to say their names underwater,
and the water will fill our mouths like memories.
We will try and swim deeper and find
a helicopter blade,

or a lost pair of glasses. Or the contents of her purse
might wash up on the banks like bottled love
letters and we will rush to show each other
her rusted keys,

her waterlogged lipstick. Frogs hide
in the cattails, and sunfish hide under
the dock, and when we walk into the water,
the minnows scatter.


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