borderline

along the edge
between sand and murky water
between island root will become a bog
and yellow snorkeling fin

between ice fishing shanty
and bonfire nest
between pike eye staring sadly beyond
and the one who welcomes it back in

forget their names
the violence in their posture
forget the weight of their hands
the bruises they leave

forget the struggle to speak
the sudden paralysis
forget the way the story gets twisted
into what she wore

what if I’m the evil child
no foul play by a babysitter in a rowboat
in a lightning storm
I make it up as I go along

what if a blurry photo
of an eastern grove
of birch trees holds
the only bark left to trust

a boardwalk
to be straightened
after miles of meandering
over a darkened lagoon

where swimmers transport
their opaque bodies
beneath the surface
without a struggle

and I observe
from a safe distance

still jealous of the shirt you wear
how the inner threads
touch your heart
the way I never will

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