He is the bone structure of a season,
relayed to me through the minute vibrations
of his breathing, quickening as we bike
down the gravel of the Perkiomen Trail. Suppose
the trail is a vein in my leg, pumping
a quiet white noise with every pedal-push. Suppose my legs
are fingers running through his auburn beard as his eyes skip
over rock-speckled water, dancing
with the bluet damselflies. We cool our feet
along the bank, mud dotting our toes. Suppose my calloused
feet are the texture of his hands, roughened from years
of fire axe and hose pull, and I hold them, digging
my thumbs into the knots. Suppose those knots are the tangles
in my hair as we bike back up trail. The breeze brushing
my face is his laugh, my laugh
is the cackle of the fire dwindling in the pit while
we sleep beneath a blanket of sweat and dirt.
Suppose that dirt and sweat are my voice caught
between my throat and my diaphragm, a steady, paralytic hum.
That hum is actually his voice, quietly singing with the radio, shifting
gears as the moon glows knowingly, smiles: this is where
we belong, but not where we'll stay. Suppose what I know
can be buried like seeds, and every summer
when I think of him I'll eat the fruit.
Suppose I know nothing: I'll stick to him like a rib.
Originally from Richlandtown, PA, Shannon Wagner currently lives in the Boston area where she's finishing her poetry thesis at Emerson College. She writes poetry reviews for Ploughshares, and her poems have appeared in The Fiddleback and Poet Lore (forthcoming).