Here I Am

The night before we left
            Iowa, we walked
                        to the cemetery.
You wanted to go all
            week because you’d read
                        about the black angel, that
she’d kill you, so you wanted
            to kiss her. You said we could write
                        about it because
all poems are about love
            and death you said and at
                        the cemetery we’d get both so okay,
here I am. What I’m trying
            to tell you: there
                        were lots of fireflies that night.
You tried and failed to catch one.
            The moon
                        was out and flattening
the grass; so much humidity
            I held in my arms like a tombstone.
                        When we got to the cemetery, walked
quietly around the gate, quiet,
            or the neighbors
                        might call the police, we found
the angel. You kissed
            her left knee, I kissed
                        nothing, someone started reading
a James Tate poem. I don’t remember its name
            but what I do
                        know is that, as we moved
around her feet, we were
            ghosts caught
                        in hushed
tradition, congregating summer after humid
                        summer night.

Isabel Prioleau lives in Charleston, South Carolina. She interns for The Adroit Journal, and you can find her most recent work in The Post and Courier. Isabel was an attendee of the 2018 Juniper Institute for Young Writers and the 2019 Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, and is a member of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program’s 2020 cohort.

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