Illustration by Kate Leib.

Summer

Leaving something more solid than I’d found it
for once, stuttering hands in our pockets
knowing there is no delicacy here
only bruised necks,
easy tears and
too much to say.

Scars like late summer I am scared
to let go
When I close my eyes
fingers stick together and like an afterthought-
Don’t break me.

This place loved me with fading freckles
I thought that I was invincible and
again, soft
with chapped lips,
too proud to acknowledge my thorns.

-and in our years apart
we followed the same crooked paths
and they crossed here,
in this dark, slow room.

Blurry eyes don’t budge and this is where it
gets ugly or this is where it gets beautiful.
I missed it so much today I stood in
the shower until the water burned my back.

By Gloria Herman