Retreat

after Jess Smith

You pointed out to me recently

I’ve lived longer here, in my apartment

with my painted sun, than the time

I lived in the UP & Maine put together.

It was true—but for a moment, I argued.

Seven months, then four, just shy

of a full year & here, nearly three.

There is no room for arguing in math, but

for a moment, I tried. These three years, next

month, have passed like the moon. Full & gone

& I’ve barely even blinked. The UP, the highway

hill & Superior waiting at the end of it,

those six months spread out like two full

lifetimes—mine first, then who I became.

Maine, that first shy week in the woods, the long

grass & the labradoodle. The mini coop & his

too-big body. The sunrises &

the fear of waking in the night—

hitting the ceiling on the upper bunk.

Crawling to the bottom, missing

home, wracked with guilt.

Sunrise again, the dock, the woods, the lake like a mirror &

his body splitting it open. My body staying behind, afraid

to be seen where no one else was, & his soap suds floating

on the water like a bath. His body breaking the surface &

the grin splitting his face like an orange. The loon calling

across the water & the woods like the strangest song.

The trek to the cabin— the home-tapped syrup

& the sausages making my stomach twist

with all their grease popping in the pan.

The wood of the cabin, the smoke. That time

together like a new life beginning & then cut short.


BEE LB

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. They have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. They have been published in The Woodward Review, among others. Their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co

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