Overhead, the match burns out,
but the chunk of ice in the back seat
keeps melting from imagined heat,
while the old Hudson tiptoes up the slope.
My voile blouse, so wet it is transparent,
like one frightened hand, clutches my chest.
The bag of rock salt sprawled beside me wakes, thirsty
and stretches a shaky tongue toward the ice.
I press the gas pedal hard.
I’ll get back to the house, the dirt yard, the cesspool,
to you out back, digging a well
you could fill with your sweat,
though there is not one reason I should want to.
You never notice me until the end of the day,
when your hand is on my knee
and the ice cream, cooked to broth,
is hot enough to burn the skin off my touch.


Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash



On Diminishment
Joanna Klink

If too much has
happened to you,
whom do you tell?

It is costly
to love without
giving over to love.

It is costly
to look too much
after yourself.

I was no more than
bones, cloud – I was only

rain floating. Some days
more stone than road.

Some days the high white
flash of a fountain.

I was only a country,
a body folding nightly

into its tides. I could not
expect anything.

I was wood
without knowing.

It is possible to love
without purpose.

It is possible to walk
far into another
and find only

yourself. If there is a right
action of the throat,

it is to say: I tried,
I stayed a long time there.

You can let the whole
of those years go un-

answered. The stairwell,

the porch swing, the reading
chair where I’d greet you,

looking away, as if my
arriving and leaving

were never really
part of the pleasure.

The most fragile thought
can live inside you for months,
and you carry on

as if it weren’t real.
You can speed up so fast

you can’t even hear
the ruin in the bell,

the slip of pain inside
trust, the ownerless
nothingness you have now

come to share with
someone you
once found so good.

Photo by Veronika Syniavska on Unsplash