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