weekend-readsInscriptions on Wax Tablets

Laura Kasischke

Spring Break

I’m sixteen in the Bahamas. A drunk girl
on a balcony in a sundress
with a piña colada.
Burning, I’m about

to slip out of my own memory altogether––

still dancing, however, still
talking nonsense to a stranger in a salmon-
pink suit according to my friends.

Memory, like a shoebox full of ocean.
This life, like the forgotten plot of a novel:
Oh, the protagonist wakes up early. She grows older.

But through it all, this body also, full of thought and blood.

This body, a heavy bubble.

And under it a little net
my mother sewed for me
out of naïveté and luck.


He’s back. The death was faked. Yes,
he jumped from the plane, OK, but he had a parachute, and now

we’re drinking scotch in his motel room, and I’m afraid. It’s summer

and the sky is full of swaying lamps
and distant planets. I don’t want to be alone, but neither

do I wish to be a memory in a motel room in a dead man’s head.


I misplaced the invitation, and forgot to go, but that night
from my bed
I thought I heard the sound
of ice in glasses, dropped
by silver tongs. I looked outside. In the sky,
a few bears and vultures
had become constellations. A few
stories there, a few
more things in this life
I’d almost entirely forgotten. I woke again
when I

heard my name
briefly on the lips of a hostess miles away, remembering

suddenly where I was, and where I wasn’t.

Spring Break

Later, the football coach’s son
will carry me to bed
and leave me there, untouched. I’ll wake up

with one arm flung into my suitcase, and the other

covering my head.

I had been wandering in a staticky meadow
for a long time, gathering
intangible flowers and humming
a single note, or so it seemed

until someone showed me a photo:

There I was, indisputably, in the corner, neither

myself nor anyone else, sixteen
in the Bahamas
sipping a piña colada, and tottering

at the edge of a balcony, while
below me that airy net
blew around in the breeze. I’d

never be able to remember a thing, but my
friends would swear I danced all night
with the same guy (pink
suit, my arms around his neck)
and that, after he left, I

lay laughing for a long time
on the damp lawn while
the world

made of danger, made of weight,
spun on without me
and despite me
for someone else’s sake.

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