Kayaking in Okatoma, MS

The drive was orchestral music and cannons.
But the overture doesn’t stay alla marcia,

it flags like the oars we took turns rowing
along slow currents. We gave each other time

for food, bug spray, being eaten and melted.
My skin birth-red with brown spots. His skin

golden, a prize I could touch. We raced away
from the others so we’d find our own space:

a kiss beneath the lazy branch we’d discover
when we paused, the shirt he left behind

like memory. How long have I settled
for a love that only rests? With no sprints, give

or takes, clumsy breaks on a sandy embankment?
Let me be gentle water without jutting branches, hold

the boat steady and store the bursting of cannons
in my wet pockets long after our song has ended.

Crystal Stone’s poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in isacoustic*, Tuck Magazine, Writers Resist, Drunk Monkeys, Coldnoon, Poets Reading the News, Jet Fuel Review, The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, The North Central Review, Badlands Review, Green Blotter, Southword Journal Online and Dylan Days. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Iowa State University and gave a TEDx talk called ‘The Transformative Power of Poetry’ earlier this year. You can find her blackout poetry page on Instagram: @stone.flowering.

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