by Laura Lovic-Lindsay
We’re driven deep into Pennsylvania forests, ten teens
promise-stuffed, future-certain. Our last time as a unit,
caps-and-gowns awaiting our return, gym decorated
and paused. We’re tented separately, military canvas
cubes and poles: smiling Ms Williams with the girls,
mathematical Mr. Smith with the boys. We spend
the days snaking spiderwebbed paths, only seventeen
but feeling taller than the pines surrounding us. We
collect the flesh-falls of trees, scrape piles of bark to feed
our night fires. Black walnuts, like grenades of ink-and-stain,
pinball their way to our feet in branch-bounces. We gather
satin-bodied acorns with lizard-skin caps. I hoard them
like a currency. After hot dogs strung on sticks, fire-roasted,
we hike the hill to a flat-topped water tower where we lie back:
spot planets, satellites, a comet. We climb back down steel
spirals and stars begin to fall, their points catching in our skin.
PHOTO: Pennsylvania forest.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My childhood was pure magic. My senior class had eleven students (yes, you read that right) and we were like family. We’ve never re-assembled since those days. Everyone went in a separate direction at graduation. Maybe this poem is an attempt to make my family whole again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Lovic-Lindsay left Penn State University with a literature degree in hand and no plan for the future. Ten years later, she began secretly herding words into poems and short stories. Laura lives in a crumbling farmhouse in Western Pennsylvania, along a river that tells lies.