Sunset, in Two Parts

The sun today was an apricot, halved
and pressed against the dome
of the world, squeezed and dripping juice
into our soda glasses and straight into our lungs,

fire onto the earth. Strange
how the sky burns the trees,
how the earth burns itself.

The fruit’s pit exploded out
and smeared the air with smoke
which we feared from the streets
eyes watering.

I am a year older today; the sun is ripe enough
to pick and bite and toss aside.
We say the sun would be gorgeous
if these dirty clouds weren’t here to last.

A phonograph.
Tinny little voices
the size of foghorns.
I imagine tiny people inside,
crawling down its golden flower
to join them, to escape, just to watch,
with the walls covered in albums
carved like broken clocks.

The nautical lamp over my bed could be
a styrofoam model solar system,
all the planets
fallen away,

as my eyes focus
on its gold rim
and the entire sea
swells up behind them.

I am not as put-together as you
think. I have bad knees.
My pupils are tide pools
collecting starfish and barnacles.

There are enough dammed tears
to make the sky blue again

pulled by the real moon,
yellowed, a crescent
clinging to its darkness.

Ben Read lives in Spokane, Washington, where he is a junior at Lewis and Clark High School. He has been recognized by inroads, RiverLit, Airplane Reading, and The Adroit Journal. Other than writing, he likes to assault people with philosophy while participating in speech and debate, attend and read at local poetry slams in tiny coffee and burrito shops, and listen to music similar to the Juno soundtrack. He wishes his dog Wally would be a better muse, but until then, he’ll have to stick with the river.

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