Arbor Day again in Michigan. Dusk’s light
bathed in mosquitoes & gnats & the shadow of a sunburn.
Children reject the buckets in the sandbox,
desperate for sleep that their parents are not yet ready to allow
even for the heaviest eyes. The parents need to talk, to
flirt, to slide up to their friends’ spouses & suggest a new
Gilead. The children notice none of this. Won’t know
home’s underbelly for years & years. Secrets mold.
Inglorious bicycles line the garage next to murmuring
jump ropes, eager to wrap them into the next life.
Karate class dispenses wisdom half-heartedly, master
leaning on tradition of theft & conquest. Young brains
moss at the breakfast table. Do they see,
now, the flighty nightgown or lipstick on the collar for the
omens that they are? Not yet.
Perhaps soon. Perhaps never. It’s likely they’ll sink into the
quicksand of their parents’ best intentions.
Reasons always surpass results.
Some children remain pupils forever, their retinas burning
to a crisp under some intangible sun.
UV rays a hazard. An explosion. A tiny, personalized apocalypse
wreaking havoc, but silently. No one will call the
exorcist. They don’t know how. The children instead plant
yew & pine, maple & dogwood, sometimes
ziziphus if they’re lucky—as lucky as they’ll ever be.

— Remi Recchia is a trans poet and essayist from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is a PhD candidate in English-Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. He currently serves as an associate editor for the Cimarron Review and as the reviews editor for Gasher Journal. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Remi’s work has appeared in World Literature TodayBest New Poets 2021Columbia Online JournalHarpur Palate, and Juked, among others. He holds an MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University. Remi is the author of Quicksand/Stargazing (Cooper Dillon Books, 2021) and Sober (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2022). He may be found on Twitter @steambbcrywolf. 

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