The Summer You Turned Eighteen

We found ourselves in a place where the crickets
go all day without stopping once
their leggy insistence, that jubilant hum.
The sun came down easy on our bodies
and we wrote letters to our parents back home
out of a sense of duty. We sang the same song all day,
Aud Lang Syne with words I made up
because we had forgotten them all, lying there
on the park bench, in the grass,
by the water throwing light, near the broken fountain,
in the greenhouse. Later, I fed you
green olives which we bought by the pound
and held shining in our hands. At night
we found three sweet peppers arranged in a row
on the concrete steps leading up to a public statue
and you wanted to hold them, take them home.
That night I fed you cool water and placed them beside you
while you slept, the peppers nestled red, yellow, and orange
along the curve of your back. Outside,
the crickets sounded like some small eternity
and I listened while you slept, and I matched your breath,
and I held your hair, and I sang to you over and over again

– Gillian Goodman

Published in Spring 2018 Issue.

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