Every thing, dead and living, confused.
Raise our palms to the disruption of cloud?
Pound our fists into the lake while it’s open
to us, its flatness a guise we can smash
with a splash? Grass sprouts, flush and full
bellied, under the gray of the grass that was.
A woman just old enough not to have, maybe,
anyone to call trudges the way she came,
surveying the past for a glint in the near dark,
a key to take her home. Children drop coats
in cars, on the sand pushed aside by the slide.
No one knows what to protect them from.
Dogs open mouths to breeze, pull against chains
they’ll accept tomorrow. Sidewalk squares
bump against grout, making their way up
to meet our feet, the dust, the dizzy of heat.
Don’t forgot shadows, teacher said, pointed at bowl that’d turned blue to green between eye and hand. Teacher held up paintings, said, don’t forget sides, twisted canvases’ wormy white edges toward room, students’ faces. Blinded, pulled brushes over lips. Teacher said, paint shadows, fumbled against lights. There, right next to every thing, a shadow. Didn’t know, some, how to paint shadows, what color, where was beginning and end. Teacher pointed at each cup, each pencil, each arm, said, shadow, made it be. Hurry, lay down what brought. Teacher, double dark hearts. Make them see.
Jennifer Gravley makes her way in Columbia, Missouri, where she recently finished library school. Her work has appeared in Paper Nautilus, Plain Spoke, and other magazines.
Jordan Singer is a photographer in Boulder, Colorado. See his full bio here.