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Runcible Spoon

heart logo John Riley

 

Lake Waccamaw

 

Then, and now

 

Sitting beneath this blanket, the room empty of sun, elbows perched over the book on my knees, no lake outside the window, only my allotment of surveyed weed-infested soil and the same warm wind through the window that blows across the surface of Lake Waccamaw and I dive and kick and roll until the warm air turns to cool water and then back to air as I pop to the surface, her swimsuit bottoms in my hand, her squeal topped by joy and the mid-day sun shadowing me when I stand in the shallow water and reach for her floating into my arms. She had no joy left when she died, the pills pinning her to the bed, her husband a drunken boat, addled, grief-less, a fool who had never been surprised by the joyful lust I held to my face, buoyant and full of destruction. She climbs up my body, my hands on her soft bottom, her whispering I love you I love you as the water shifts slightly around us and then there is the after-grief that makes love so sweet and we float, there in the water alone, naked, pinned by the clandestine sun and later the two-seat fishing boat sputters through the reed-shored river twilight, nocturnal creatures stirring, and unoriginal me, thinking, thinking, of always being a child and of the distant dry fields that made my love a flying stone and later yet the mangoes and watermelon and the night weary from water and she so soon to be the lost love of a boy who lost so much in time.