"Beneath the Strawberry Moon"
by Wanda Deglane
You’re crouched outside the car, limbs folded
like a broken sun chair, spluttering and vomiting
against rocks that gut your hands like first-century nails.
I’m gripping the seat, picturing the world about to go
tumbling, frozen by gravity that wasn’t there minutes ago.
The music explodes through the speakers, tries to drown
out the sounds of your shuddering, your gasping for air,
your downhill battles that shred the still night in two.
I look for the man up above, try to ask for his help, but
he hides behind the strawberry moon and shakes
his tired head. You reenter the car, start to choke again.
I want to be your lifeline. I want the breath caught
in my lungs to refill the life in yours. You’re punching
and punching and punching the steering wheel, like it’s death,
like it’s the sun, like it’s anyone who ever slashed your skin
and left you bruised and lifeless, you punch because it’s
the only thing that makes sense anymore, and I believe it.
Why can’t I ever just be okay? you cry, to me and to the man
in the moon, For just one day. For an hour. For a moment. And
I stroke your hair until it’s extinguished of its fire. I could
shed my skin to let you wear, I could give you my organs
for all the half-hearted ones in your body too tired to go on.
I could take the dark in your mind, pour it into a blender, and
drink up. Instead, I’ll hold your bones until the lights turn back on
in your eyes, until the warmth makes your breaths come effortlessly.
And we’ll turn the key in the ignition and go peeling out of this state,
to find another reason to fall in love with the world all over again.