They don't let it stop them singing
that God saw fit not to give them voices. They reach
up into each season and pull into their bodies every birdsong.
They dress themselves in all the violet and cardinal notes
their roots can feed.
They dance to celebrate the sweetness of their compositions in
the seed that falls. An amber page strikes
the earth to keep the beat of their static insisting and
the sun blushes at the twilight invitation.
We were told, time and time again, we were too young to get married, but when you know, you know, so we went to the Borders in town to make lists. And Nate was in one of those lists; he sounded out of breath on the phone when I told him he was a groomsman, and it might have been from excitement, and it might have been from rising up out of the water to take my call. His glasses were laying on the bank of the reservoir on his towel, making the sky look the kind of blue that makes you think the day will go on forever. I was going to show him the engagement ring, not knowing that later that year I would ask her to stop wearing it, because the wedding is being postponed, so it doesn’t seem honest. When we left the bookstore my cellphone rang again, and this time it was my sister, and she was also out of breath. Nate’s body hadn’t risen from the water. I think that’s what she was saying, but to this day I can’t be sure, because my legs had forgotten to hold me up and my phone wasn’t in my hands anymore, but I am sure that I was looking at the sky from my back, and it was the color of a day that would never end even here, even this distance away from his sky. And then the view transmuted into the roof of Jesse’s car, and I don’t remember getting inside but they must have picked me up and tossed me in, my body no longer mine but Nate’s, thinking about what he’s going to say when we show him the ring, knowing he’s usually forgetful and might not make it to the rehearsal. When I stopped crying I was holding a 20 piece from McDonalds, and I reminded everyone through another nugget that I am a vegetarian, that I don’t eat meat, I swear this doesn’t make sense, and they tasted exactly as I remembered, like something pretending to be something else, and I made a joke about eating a dead thing which nobody laughed at, which I would tell again days later as an excuse to grab a burger, which tasted exactly how I thought it would. There was no where else in our shitty town to wait besides the 24-hour Price Chopper, so we waited in the booth by the bathrooms waiting to hear if they were going to take him off of life support. There was a sign advertising oranges above our booth, and another one with a tiger jumping through a hoop, and when my mother called to say not to come to the hospital, to remember him how he was and not how he is, I knew they would take him off, I knew in that way when you just know, and by then the day was ending, but when I close my eyes it seems to go on forever.