after Antonio Porta Behind the words, can you hear my heart? A low thrum of tension. Tug of tears. Years of pretending. Your touch breaks this chandelier of ache. You sing my name night after night. When the singing doesn’t work, we go to the woods. A new salve for me. We take turns leading. Is there a trail blaze to follow? Is this rhododendron or mountain laurel? I need to study plant life. I need to learn how to not pretend. After an hour of eyes down on mud, rock, grass, I open my arms to the wind.
1. Breathing in that thin air, you rode a banana-seated bike to the movies. Your mom sent water bottles to quench altitude sickness. I practiced ya'll with a northern accent over and over, learned how not to drown below sea level. 2. The Carolina humidity hugged you, at times almost to the point of suffocation. Drought-cracked Texas swallowed my voice. The heat wave nearly boiled our goldfish. 3. You were experimenting with pony-tailed hair and lyrics, mind-altering substances. I was experimenting with being afraid of everything. I wanted to make rain purple while my friends drank Rum and Coke, set free the mystery rising from my toes, licking my ribs, prickling my heart. 4. It would take decades for us to collide – a bundle of kinetic energy, gravitational pull toward the molecular cloud, fusion a secret language only our bodies could translate into a luminous, new star all our own.
Dawn Leas is the author of A Person Worth Knowing (Foothills Publishing), I Know When to Keep Quiet (Finishing Line Press) and Take Something When You Go (Winter Goose Publishing). Her work has appeared in New York Quarterly, The Paterson Literary Review, Literary Mama, The Pedestal Magazine, SWWIM, and elsewhere. She’s a writing coach, manuscript consultant, and arts educator. She’s a proud back-of-the pack runner, newbie hiker, salt-water lover, and mom of two grown sons. www.thehammockwriter.com