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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