I think I switched from growing to dying at the bottom of a pool with no water, the summer was birthing, unaware yet of the singeing salt-stained residue of liquid air.

When the summer was about to die, we swam in our undies in a full one, and I saw the two that weren’t really mine, and those that wouldn’t be mine and never were. We stole his clothes. He said he hated us, but that was one of the best moments of his life.

I feel too close with the people I’ve seen twice at the greasy burger store. They ask me about my day, I tell them to enjoy the strange warmth, and I feel a fondness toward the joy in an old man’s eyes, hunched over, winking at me while sweeping with his bristle broom brother.

I want to use words like pastiche without trying, but I’ll never give you diction that has any use for your head, cause I ain’t got one.

I can make a video, s l o w m o t i o n, of me crushing Santa’s head, his charcoal eyes like dirt in the tub—the white was his face, but it’s not from me, it’s from him, and it’s my last bath full of blood. I can’t become an astronaut or help you with your wounds, I can only bleed and bleed, and cry with you, hold your hand and tell you about my time at the bottom of the swimming pool and when I thought I saw Mary hiding in the bushes and mudpies and all the trees I’ve climbed and thought in, waiting, listening to parades on the other side of vegetated poison ivy, and while we die, we’ll feel at peace, though we haven’t done anything, anything at all. All we can do is count the stardust in our palms, call each other by name, and hope one of us gets it wrong, cause getting it right is boring, and tears of laughter always tumble after a blue stone.

Published by celinamcmanus

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