It is easy to love one who stares so hard.
She speaks to the breaking water,
eyes ninety degrees away .
You know the vowel structure,
the tongue tuck, the flick of lighters,
the grey solution slowing your veins—
alternately, there grew the lump
in her chest. Then she flew away
from sureness, pale sojourning.
A speedboat’s wake splashes here by a private dock
neither of you owns. Neither of you owns
much. As for any sort of kissing, she
is beautiful but already swimming away
into a blinding sunburn cooked into the pond,
into the flesh-gap between the stories
inked into the skin of her narrow shoulders.
She needs them touched up. She once had
much longer hair, when she forgot
for seven years—consider yourself
also a side-effect of the chemo.
You never learned to swim.
This story poets tell you to read,
it is beautiful & aloof, it runs out
of pages, will not listen to you begging.
Someday you will see her
finally in the ocean, too far away,
too unconcerned with the jagged shore.
Joey Gould is a long-time contributor to Mass Poetry, for which he assists the Poetry Festival Planning Committee, leads workshops for Student Day of Poetry events around Massachusetts, writes web articles for MassPoetry.org, & judges slams for Louder Than a Bomb MA. His work has been printed in Paper Nautilus, Drunk Monkeys, The Compassion Anthology, Memoir Mixtapes, & District Lit, amongst others. He has twice been nominated for Bettering American Poetry and once for a Pushcart Prize. Since his first public reading as a fellow of Salem State University’s Summer Poetry Seminar, he has performed in The Poetry Circus, Elle Villanelle’s Poetry Bordello, and The Poetry Society of New York’s Poetry Brothel. In addition to his Mass Poetry work, he has taught workshops for the Salem Poetry Seminar & Salem Lit Fest. He coedits Golden Walkman & writes 100-word reviews as poetry editor for Drunk Monkeys. Most important, he likes Pusheen & painting his nails.
You can follow Joey on Twitter @toshines