Say we slept like effigies on a stranger’s lawn.
Sideways to the boats roping in, saltwater
lapping the land so thick we could slick it
through our hair. Say children surrounded us
with wooden knives and smoke bombs,
their jeans as putrid as the corner ponds
they were born in. Their teeth loose
gravel, a new language for ruin or roll
over. Say a day before, a returned soldier
drove into the woods and made out
with his shotgun. Skull a split piñata,
a fist of sun unraveling. For now let’s say
the black Lab in the truck isn’t panting, stuck
to leather, radio on. This isn’t about us.
Everyone in town is drinking brown fire
to forget someone they read about
in the paper. Someone no one knew
well enough. Here it is always almost
summer. A beach of women probing their legs
through water like herons. Teenagers staring,
pretending their eyes are tanning oil. Say we are
old stone castles. That when the drawbridge drops
the moat disappears like a name fingered on a window.