bat fishing with Rachel
when I lived with my parents
when I still slept underneath
my favorite sister and I
would sit on the shingles
and fish for bats
with long nets meant
the sky would hold
and turn dark indigo,
but we’d stay out
until that flimsy periwinkle
on the event horizon and we’d talk
about times that we wanted
to forget. like the morning
our father hit that squirrel
with the secondhand Chevy
and it didn’t die
right away, just writhed in the road
like it had been electrocuted.
my sister would do the same thing
when she laughed
as when she cried:
bend over and touch
her knees, holding
her breath like it was
to fly away
looking at the sun
a rainbow of mums spilled across the doorway to September & the rich
folks headed to Saratoga to cast their bets on thoroughbred racing.
your boyfriend stood on his mohair sofa, your beloved Mississippi
pooling around his ankles as his feet sank into the sun-bleached cushions
i am on my way to heaven he said it only with his hands as he waited
for your neighbors to line up spherical bales of hay in the ornery fields
ponies in the starting gate—
beautiful is fast. fast is beautiful.
in Tennessee, 200 feet of quarry water held you up like a prize fighter,
your heart cherried with crimson clay.
maybe it is possible that the adults are lying about the dangers of looking
directly at the sun. because you didn’t look—
& you missed the pink lights
of his fingernails as the starting pistol bucked in his sweat-shined hands
& you are cursed with the fact that you became a part of the world
—a part of that quarry—just as he was leaving it
Lillian Sickler is a poet, writer, and birth doula living in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her work can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue, Ghost City Press, Vagabond City, Noble / Gas Quarterly, and upcoming issues of Hobart and Crab Fat Magazine. She has two cats named Laika and Junebug.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.