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Dec 2015
It was May, but we drove out to the shore
anyway in my big sweater and purple
cotton scarf wrapped around my neck,
holding it up to my chin as we waited
for the heat to start up in the car. My breath
looked like a cloud when I laughed, my lips
two inches from yours as I pulled
you by the strings of your black sweatshirt.
I grabbed two bags of sour patch kids, trying
to throw them sideways into your mouth
as you drove, a scattered trail of neon green
and yellow left on the foot mat under
the wheel, two our three
stuck between the crease in your seat.
I know it wasn't sunny, but I swear it tried
to peak through the overcast, or maybe the gray
sheen of it off the pavement is what made
your face shine. Your black hair looked so cool
on your pale skin, yelling at me to get
my ***** red sneakers off the dashboard. I tried
to write a little poem on your hand
with my fingers as it traced your bones
like a maze while you let it rest on the console.
We played that CD from that band I didn't know
you loved, and I promise I ******* up all the words,
but I just like to hear your try to sing over me.

I made you swear not to splash me
when we tried to let the ocean kiss
our toes, a salty welcome to the love affair
I had with the way you made me bite
my lip when I almost smiled too much
at the way your eyes moved when you talked
about one of your favorite things or about
how big the ocean was and how small
you were, even if you never said it just
like that. I could tell what you meant.
You did it anyway. The water was so cold
on my cheeks, my ribs clashing into one
another like a song my head hadn't had
the time to learn yet. You held them
in place while holding me. You kissed
the summer from my lips and asked
the sun to come out just for a moment
while I made tiny castles out of pink shells
and faded driftwood pieces leftover
from the winter. We ran out of iced tea
so we drank each other in, in layers,
on the sand with our jeans rolled
up to our ankles, letting the mask
of almost blue skies envelope us
in a Saturday afternoon spent
figuring out little things like old
memories or each other's favorite movies.
Sophie Herzing
Written by
Sophie Herzing
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