She left with summer

Apple soaked clouds coast slow below the late pale blue sky,

Low enough to wave your hand through,

And select from like an orchard.

The forest shakes in the fresh fall wind spilling over mountains,

And you try to capture it like the last firefly of summer

Or

Hold on to it like a farewell kiss.

Cattails sway at the edge of the woods,

Inviting you in,

And you think about what you’d be for Halloween.

All the things you were.

Sit by the unused pool

Filling with leaves,

Beside the oak

As it turns to gold.

Build bonfires

Beneath the stars,

Watching them burn at length in distances that sink our hearts,

Staring mystified, like boys waiting for a pop-fly to come down in the field.

Share your last cigarette with the one person who needs it most besides you.

The glowing cherry handled like a controlled comet, as the porch smoke

 Chimneys into the invisible

And joins the nomad night,

Claimed with the rest of the light,

While bugs sing their love songs from treetops,

And from the forgotten swamps of your youth

That you haven’t been to

Since middle school when someone carved your initials

In the birch tree that still bows respectful over the water.

At dusk now we hide our heads in hoods like helmets

Cut through cemeteries

Drink all night

Sing insane in the car with the windows down

No matter how old we get,

That endless sensation of doing underage-everything never disappears

When this reaper air

Consumes us.

Soon these days become abbreviated in heightened tempos,

And the tangerine-sun will temporarily capsize in the late pale blue sky,

Keeping her warmth for herself.

 

 

(I’d like to thank everyone who read Beside the Skeleton of a Blue Whale. I received some fine feedback. I’d like to show my appreciation for everyone taking the time to read Beside the Skeleton by putting up this poem that was also published in Inkwell Journal’s Spring 2011 issue. I was extremely proud with the publication of this poem in particular as it won the Elizabeth McCormack/Inkwell Master of Arts in Writing Competition. Inkwell has always put out great fiction, poetry, essays, photography, and more, so I was honored to be among such an exciting crowd.)

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