ANDREW RHYS YOUNG
In the dentist’s parking lot
still tasting of sand
and local anesthetic−
you were the alkaline
creek-bed caught between
the freeway’s shoulder and
our subdivision. In summer
dry enough that in parts
we'd walk across with
my dad’s metal detector,
I’d comb the river floor
hoping to find something
missing from someplace else.
But I found nothing, just the acrid
taste of latex gloves and a
disappointing, long drive home.
Wednesday AM, March snowdrifts melting
frigid holy water and benzoin gun-smoke.
From the third row it was hard to hear the Father
with your hand on my legs- heavy, vascular
and my thoughts of ‘doing the right thing’ with
the bodega’s waxy brown bag, torn up and
crumpled in a ball beside us.
When I took communion I said a prayer
for you, the old man who had slipped on the way in,
for interns already in the office
and for every time I’d littered or spat out gum, oh god.
Just like you said, I winked at the statue of Mary
and you traced the sign of the cross on my knee.
It was more or less done.
In a laboratory somewhere, tides are
measured in a petri dish− up and down
up and down, steadiness can be found here.
Reliability is something else
proven true by the slow iteration of each day
against the next. On vacation
we make love like teenagers using spit
as lube with breakfast hangovers and
barbecue sauce stained denim shirts.
You can be sure it will always be something.
Overnight a sandbar appears offshore
pushed into sight by the Gulf Stream's slow
withdrawal north. Your friends swim naked out
to stake claim while you cheer them on.
In another room a conversation starts
about you. Discreet like sand in your hair
or in low cut sneakers, and weeks later through
Manhattan bed-sheets, I'll forget your name.
The Pacific garbage patch is full and
the ocean will take none of this back.
Andrew Rhys Young is a writer living in New York City. He studied communication and creative writing at Monash University, Australia before moving to New York, where he works as a fashion publicist.