The landmarks are just as premeditated
in person—I collect as evidence
the clavicle bones of our inert museums,
the broad park I meet my little sister down
one toothless lunch hour like the soft
unfinished insides of her backpack.
She is knee-sick and fawning on her felt-tipped prize
for exceeding her bones in the sprinting test.
The children laughed how her torso
clatters like a chain-link fence,
red sugar from the jawbreaker
ringing their lips like aurorae.
Now they shake their names
from the vending machine, rueful.
The museum is taut and hollowed
as a gourd inside, a cavity of vaulted air,
and girls go out in the predatory air
seeking to communicate nothing
with freckled cheekbones,
the kink of a young ankle
in a roller skate, to no avail.
What medicine blue on the map
was living once? I tell you
neither the school nor the avenue,
the ocean with its annotated coasts,
the highway emptying numbers
in the ocean. For the park scene
the barest of all colors, the jawbreaker’s
pastel strata—slight green of the green space,
little sister’s white-blonde roller skates,
the sky alights tender as a coffee cup.
Alice Bolin‘s poetry appears or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, FIELD, Blackbird, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Washington Square, among other journals. Her nonfiction is featured regularly on the arts and culture website This Recording, The Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere around the internet. She lives in Missoula, Montana.
Image courtesy hddod