That was the tarragon summer – lying in open terror falling through empty sky. Sometimes we’d sneak out in the middle of the night to the bluff just to hear the churning silence, the waking leaves and broken stars. On our backs in the hazy blackness discussing Nixon and the war, and what turning eighteen would mean. I’d share a pack of cigarettes I stole from Allard’s, and we’d smoke and cough, two orange eyes darting and weaving.

Your brother came back in July solitude to kick cans in dusty alleys and sell us cheap weed. The night before he shot himself we went down to the pond and passed a joint to the fireflies all radiant and dizzy. The moon reeled and pitched on the water, still bathwater warm. You showed me the scar – a grinning purplish thing snaking along your right shoulder, a gift from the old man.

You young thing, I was so much older than you even then. I knew your secrets. When the world cracked and splintered – when they found his drained shell on the bathroom floor and blamed you fair little thing, all wide luminous eyes, narrow shoulders, and high cheekbones – I knew you’d come to me. Knew we’d stall in breathless silence fumbling toward some kind of light, that your tears would burn my tongue, that the world was too small, a pinprick lost in this swelling thing billowing out suddenly within me.

When the dawn light touched the tarragon, we push south toward the sea, together.

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~ by Benji on 24 March 2009.

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