BY BRENNAN SPRAGUE
Finalist for the 2019 Adroit Prize for Poetry
A pivot of stars echoed in the inground pool.
We are young. We are a gossip of shadows.
Here, we’re debutantes ashing our cigarettes,
always so stubborn, fingers stroking surface,
translucently white beneath the dark blue.
We didn’t know it then, but I think we were
trying to shed ourselves, of ourselves. I think
an internal part of us desired to finally sink.
To look up at the sky through a wedding veil,
to imagine the weddings of strangers—I am
still lost. We don’t speak anymore, our lives
have verged like a bone cracking. On nights
when I can hear the harmonies of phantoms
moving through the forest like a religion,
I wonder if you are among them. I am not.
They are all brides, they are all desperate
for the rot of winter. Your religion says
everything is rotting, and if they aren’t
rotting, they are rotten. The opossum
soaring through the yard with her babies
clutching to her back for dear life. They’re
running away from something. If you
were here, you would tell me they’re
running towards something. O America.
O suburbia. O heaven. O darkness.
O long lost. Your parents are covering
the pool for the summer. The leaves
are loosening themselves from the trees.
They are falling back into the pool,
but not into the pool. Is this how
we used to gaze up at what laid ahead?
Through a black tarp? All night long,
the lights in the houses turn off
one by one.