Our brows hang low.
Two sets of eyes rake the streets for signs -
a roof whistling with heat like a kettle, blood clots of gawkers, the wound of a battering ram.
The news had come as a smell in the air that
put on all our lips and tongues The Theory.
The baby, not fluent in smells, heard
our rubbernecked humming
and said, I want to see the house on fire!
She has said, But I wanted to sleep in the flowers!
and Shoo! Shoo! and Remarkable!
She should see the house on fire, yes.
She, blonde and blue, milky- and moonish-white.
Now, while she can still gasp and gaze - as at a
over a hot, glass river -
and marvel, unobliged to pity.
And we’ll point and make O’s with our mouths at each other,
and the sky will rain paper, and flame-warped photos of
men who look like accordions
Happy Second (, April Leigh.)
Down the road where they boast Grace Kelly's birth,
you - sitting in a nest of spindly limbs, in
a tangle of girls, cross-legged and secret-sharing,
like a ballet class awaiting warm-ups
and sadder, with heavy eyelids hanging
as crescent moons.
You are wearing a plastic birthday crown.
Sudden - my fingers recall the muscle memory
of a years-old task:
gathering inches of slack fabric onto a
safety pin that strains to accommodate.
The doings of ink-smeared high school hands
that still draw hearts in notebook margins -
yours, wringing each other
mine, taking care not to pierce your paper skin
in a bathroom thick with corsage smells and
your relentless, silent mantra:
"I don't need to, I don't need to,
I don't need to."
You used to swim at West Point when you
were 13 & Broad, like a city intersection.
In that moment
in the grass
on the hospital grounds,
you are the butterfly stroke,
with your brave face, and your water wings.
On Telephone Wires
My father climbed trees for a living and so his palms
were always dry and hard as bark.
He’d hug the trunk,
and wave with shears in hand, and carve our names into the face.
I dropped a handful of pumpkin seeds down
our bathtub drain once
and a limp little stalk, green and young, began to
snake it’s wayup towardsthelight.
The day he disappeared I imagined I’d climb
the little stem
through the pipes
and up into the trunk of a tree.
Lindsay Reid is a student living in Middletown, New Jersey. She runs a student writing workshop at Brookdale Community College.