Group Portrait in Siloam Springs, Arkansas
The pool, laminate blue, blazed against concrete white,
brighter than ska, brighter than pony eye.
Everyone sweltered, but didn’t care.
Hammocks imprinted our legs with memos,
of which we made paper rubbings that read rind, or frognight,
hot sauce and leather stitching.
We saved the slips in glass jars.
Each evening we gathered
in a wooden tabernacle, in a yawn that breathed us in,
cycled us into fervent air. We whispered
across each other’s chests, leaning close,
thought we could say every name, sing mystery into aphorism.
If questioned, we would’ve said the holy
could be contained, at least re-membered like split wood
puzzled into pew and joist.
Place or space?
Here or nowhere.
molecular clusters that simmered and flashed,
fused and re-shaped all on the fly,
according to secret or boredom, better company, devotion or giddiness or no reason.
Every lissome thing had its own charge.
Moths on screen doors, a linen chemise, bible pages leafed,
long fingers tying shoe laces before a game.
Through our muscle and sugar clamor,
the thick air breathed water.
Floodlight diffused through pavilions.
A live cord of creek wound behind the cabins, near the property’s edge,
its banks chirped and pulsed.
It ran to who knows where.