Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-seven
Spring 2015
 
respite
Kirby Knowlton

one summer the sun broke
               each morning like communion wafers,
                              passed itself through
               every window like a blessing.
for that short time,
                              my sister was a word
               i’d finally remembered
                              the meaning of.

maybe it was the dead toads
                              in grandma’s pool.
               bloated & somehow
                              still shining.
light refracted to catch chlorine
               glimmers, the sheer death
                              of the toads, rippling a dance
we couldn’t understand.
               kaley, buoyant & blonde,
glowing bright enough to make me forget
                              that with breath held
too long, we could join them
               at the bottom.

moments that begged
               for suspension, to be held
in the arms of summer
                              and rocked like a baptism.

promising to get better, little steps.
               talking at night
                              because sunlight could draw
the truth out of our words
                              like water vapor.
               a memory that rose to the surface,
kaley, saying sometimes i wish
                              i was already dead
so i could be with god
                                             in heaven.

imagine wanting to skip the little parts.

our bodies no longer wrung out,
               no longer set on the porch
                                                            to dry.
our energy spent searching
                              for a last word
               before the room went dark
before the summer ended
               & the sermon began again.

About Kirby Knowlton

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