After The War Ended

The Springwater trail was a dream for us that August afternoon
Brimming with people
Faded yellow dandelions, ragged weeds
Moist, rotting wood
Lining edges of concrete, pockets of wet green bursting, river pulsing us on

We wanted to taste each pebble of the city!
New Seasons (oranges were $5 apiece but it was the best goddamn orange you would ever
Babies, nooked in arms of men throwing frisbees, on streets blocked off for neighborhood
Chickens wandered the sidewalks, pecking for scraps
Gangs of cats claimed corners of grass and I loved them down to their very whiskers

It was a day of a day
The cloudless sky beaming with pride!
We rode untarnished on our rickety hand-me-down bikes

My handlebars crooked, your tires perpetually flat.
The Willamette snaked alongside us.
Glimmering scales of blues and greens and browns
Our pores were packed full of tree lined vistas
I wore those tiny, careless shorts
Sun, plentiful, raked our skin with its hot fingers (and then my bones poured outside)

Love finds a different way after years but that day there was one way
The way of youth
(I didn’t know then how love could change and shift like a shadow unwilling to be held)

Your weathered hands brought me homemade beer on a lumpy bed so cheap we had to
                                                                                                                              laugh at our poverty
Rich in the dense, fragrant forest of infatuation
That day there were only your sparkling eyes my laughter spilling out faster than rain
They met quicker than two cheetahs hunting and that was our place
In the sun

Katie Gleason is a social worker, counselor, poet and teacher living in Arizona. She is Master student of and workshop teacher for The Writers Studio Tucson. Her work has appeared in Gnarled Oak and O-Dark-Thirty, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now inhabits the desert with her husband and two greyhounds.

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