Lonesome While Kissing

By Jim Daniels

Featured Image: Clouds by H. Lyman Saÿen 1910-12

She would be dead in twenty years.
        I never felt as lonely
as kissing her in between auto shop
        and the field house, imagining
wind wouldn’t find us
        but it did.
We pulled apart and said nothing.
        She leaned her fine brown hair
against my neck, then disappeared.
        I walked under the swing-set bars
and raised my hands as if to grab the lost chains.
        I stood waiting for someone to push me.

Faint music from the dance. Stoplight at the corner
        switched over to blinking red
for the night. If the swings were up
        I would’ve pumped high.
I would’ve jumped. Her name
        was Rita, walking home
alone. No other planets in the solar system.
        Inside the dance, couples were warm
and their gum was juicy. For us, love
        was at least a couple of school districts away
on streets we did not know the names of.
        I’ve never been that cold.
Hard to swallow when it was myself stuck
        in my throat. Rita Conner.

Jim Daniels is the author of many books of poems, including, most recently, Rowing Inland and Street Calligraphy. His sixth book of fiction, The Perp Walk, was published by Michigan State University Press in 2019, along with the anthology he edited with M.L. Liebler, RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music. A native of Detroit, he currently lives in Pittsburgh. Some of his published work in the past few years include The Perp Walk, fiction, Michigan State University Press, 2019 and RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music, 2020, both published by Michigan State University Press.

Originally appeared in NOR 7

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