Where We Drink in the Dark on Weekends

This poem won Editor's Choice in 2-Day Poem Contest 2018

Call it thrillfrisson, that unmistakable turn the wind takes 

combing its teeth through the shorn grass behind the school

where we drink in the dark on weekends,


how it is impossibly cold all winter then, one night,

it isn’t. How late spring renders our donned coifs feckless,

and the killdeers call out from the nests they carve in the gravel lot


like small, winged ghosts. We form a loose circle,

the bottle of cheap vodka we will ceremoniously smash

when we’re finished with it passing between our hands,


split open the stems of dandelions and prod with our tongues their foamy pith. 

Suck and chew the sweetness from their ragged leaves.

Dream quietly of the near future.


There is a restlessness that comes before June,

the itch of prospect, the possibility of all that might transpire

when July turns us loose on ourselves.


As if the approaching summer will be the first we have ever lived.

As if the bonfires in the quarry will surprise us this year,

the old tub left behind from the landslide that swallowed half the town


before our mothers and fathers were born,

the one we fill with ice and beer, its belly gone to rust in fists of red flake

that leave the mouths of our cans tasting like a car wreck.


Perhaps it will all be different this time:

perhaps we will not stagger drunk across the shards of stone

and hurt ourselves trying to leave, judge the distance between there and home


by the wounds on our hands and knees. How many times we pick ourselves up.

Let it be the summer of more-than-this, one in which our world is made commodious 

by an endless sky punctured with small fires. Let us sleep perfectly beneath it.


Let us wake gleaming, roric.