After Ross Gay

And the crab apple out back
quivers with the current, drowns out
the small flicker of sunlight,
and the last of mom’s
chrysanthemums cling to the soggy soil
while the rain strips the varnish off dad’s
pearly white arbor (it’s not used to this),
rose water trickles from peonies
flapping in the wind
like a thousand white snowflakes in May,
like a white blizzard in May,
and the little boxes on the hillside
can’t bear the blindness (they’re not used to it),
this is Bethesda after all, and a boy kisses
another boy behind the library and he can’t stop
thinking about three blocks down,
where Mom grills pizza tonight,
the good kind, the kind with the pesto,
you should come for dinner sometime,
and a man peers into the garden
behind the library, he hollers heavy
at the boy kissing a boy who can’t stop
worrying about what his dad will say
(he’s not used to this),
and a woman inside the library
asks a 6th grade black
girl, she’s learning times tables, to help her
with the dewey decimal system,
you’re lucky they let you study on the job,
and she smiles heavy (she’s used to this),
and the boys behind the library
stop embracing, and Mom grills pizza out back
near the crab apple, but tonight
it doesn’t taste so good.
Julia Grady '20

Julia Grady ’20