Three Pieces of Poetry
YOU DON’T NAME DEAD THINGS
I think about my bones too often
these days, walking behind a girl
in those boots. The early itch
of spring takes the air, our throats;
I chew on this sugar and would sing,
but come on. Her white dress
in the breeze is not a surrender.
A girl in those boots, she makes me
forget about pocketknives, fences, the shovel I’m carrying.
We find it heavy, in the tall grass, attempting burial:
decay arrived days before
eyes invaded in flies
guts made cave, hollowed out red.
Despite the flies, she descends she kneels
to stroke its mane. I kiss
the side of her face and taste tightness
in my throat from the smell
possibly – but her closed eyes like hope like seeds
in wait and wait, she says –
I wait to begin digging
Sundays, we would ride our bikes in front of your house,
bedding ourselves in the grassy hill,
the one facing the mountains
we named them bulldog, pickwick, Emily and Zachary.
We smiled a language no one else could understand.
On your wedding day, I talked too loud.
Walking back from the river
alone, I tracked mud and scum
to your manicured yard. All those yellow
dresses and there you stood,
educating the sun with your small laugh.
Before graduation, remember, we sat beneath bleachers
beheading dandelions, debating
the distance between Colorado and Kentucky.
You were right.
I still remember the history of your shoulders, each freckle,
the gravel in your knees
the wet footprint your mouth left on my cheek.
The little ghosts we grew out of,
busrides and hayfights, we shared backroad poetry
and flashlight summers.
I wanted to tell you that September, but would you see
the beauty in a thing said straight?
I won’t dance with you, I will not cut the light
from your strawberry hair
to awkwardly pocket and hold through these long nights,
these nights, dead batteries.
When we disappeared into the forest that summer,
just kids, I did not pick you. I went with Elizabeth,
and you, with a taller boy. This
doesn’t matter anymore
FRANKLIN COUNTY PROMETHEUS
Boys around the fire, passing a bottle
to burns these lips, inspire unripe lungs.
We sit against dark, boys who know
the hardness of well water, the salt in hog’s blood.
Kyle got the whiskey. His father knew,
knows no soldier first fires his rifle the day before the battle.
The fire swells and laughs, thanking us for the bones
and fat, for keeping strong through the night.
We don’t know how to reply, so
I offer another log – above
the sky smiles
mouth empty of thunder.
Born out of dirt and mistakes,
we all know quietly, there are two types of light:
sipping on stolen fire, we ache for the homeless
freedom of that summer heat lightning
About the Author: Zachary Lundgren received his MFA in poetry from the University of South Florida and his BA in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder and grew up in northern Virginia. He has had poetry published in several literary journals and magazines including The Louisville Review, The Portland Review, Barnstorm Journal, The Adirondack Review, and the University of Colorado Honors Journal. He was nominated for the 2012 AWP Intro Journals Award and was awarded the Estelle J. Zbar Poetry Prize in 2012. He is also a poetry editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection and a founding editor of Blacktop Passages.