A dog’s grave: mound of concrete
with a cross pressed in.
We are full-on sinful,
unbuttoning our Levi’s,

crouched behind a slash pile
in the Rathbone’s woods.
Scott pisses on it first,
then Harris, Owen, me. Steam fountains up

and forms sastrugi, greeting our faces
like sheer tongues,
like the dead who cannot bring
themselves to tell us, what you’ve feared is true.

None of us wonders
if there’s something worse
than Judgment: the years we’ll spend unmarried

to any home, praying in Potosi, Fayetteville, Batavia,
afraid that God
won’t care, afraid he will.

The worst thing we can think of, we’ve done,

then we walk home, grateful that the streetlights float
on darkness, indifferent as distant boats.

Matt Sumpter

Matt Sumpter is an MFA candidate in Poetry at The Ohio State University, where he works as an Associate Poetry Editor for The Journal. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and an AWP Intro Journals Award, and he recently won the Crab Orchard Review Special Issues Feature Award in Poetry. Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boulevard, 32 Poems, Cincinnati Review, West Branch Wired, and elsewhere.