Glass by the River

You're five-six-seven-eight-nine years old.

You're running with scraped knees and a stick

retrieved from a mossy bank.

Your mom worries about glass by the river;

you collect it like the near-opaque shards

are thin, curved emeralds,

like the jagged neck of the bottle the fish avoid

is some faraway queen's crown

brought there by the languid waters.

You reinvent animal husbandry—

in a stained Tupperware you gather worms,

gather pill bugs, a slug or two,

with onion grass and dirt and dandelions

arranged like tiny furniture

and, mystified, see them multiply.

You move fluidly from running wild

through scraping branches

to sitting quietly in the shade

holding that Tupperware close

and naming each bug something silly.

Hubert.

Shoelace.

Applesauce.

You're ten-eleven-twelve-nineteen years old.

Can you ever feel that again, you wonder,

when you're too big for the bridges you built,

too tall for the tunnels?

Maybe—only maybe—

in the most afternoon of evenings,

when the sky is still bright and blue near dinner

as the sun bows to tall grasses.

Where it smells sharp, where

breathing stings and brings tears to your eyes

as if your body is mourning something

your mind has forgotten.

You close your eyes,

let those tears roll down your cheeks,

let your outside weep,

and, inside, rewind.

You're running with scraped knees and a stick

retrieved from a mossy bank.

Zoey Pincelli is a sophomore computer science major with English and mathematics minors. As a writer, she often focuses on crime fiction, sci-fi, and, of course, poetry! Her hopes for graduation are to pursue a career in software engineering while working on her novel-in-progress. Her publication through the Whiskey Island website will be her first.


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