That’s you in flip-flops outside the swimming-pool fence at the campground where your family always stayed and you’re a little out of focus because it was back when images were trapped like dragonflies in an actual black box and there you are, eating your creamsicle, shorts loose around your skinny legs and even though you’re a girl you don’t wear a shirt because that was another thing about those days, little girls could run around without shirts and no one thought twice about it, and pretty soon you’ll open the gate and sun will burn your shoulders which feels almost good and your brother will do his weird thing on the diving board so you’ll act like you don’t know him and the angle of innocence begins to bend passing through the lens of years. And you can’t quite make out where the edges of that day belong but if you try to force the soft blots into focus all you get are numbers for the resolution lost. So you leave her tasting her icy sweet still safely unexposed and step out of the dark room dry-mouthed, let your feet rejoin their place on the convergence lines where ground and time will meet next second at the vanishing point.
storm drains clog
with sodden leaf layers
rain picks at the city’s skin
strips loose debris
downtown cars scuttle
dart into cracks
Seahawks Parking, only $50.
jets rattle overhead
unpaid bills and unsent ballots
pineapple cyclone winds
hoarding their stolen rain
escape the tropics
with an appetite for mayhem
head straight here
their bulging purse of storms
torn open by the mountains’ teeth
spills out across the Sound
election eve, the race and shell-game
tokens on the gambling table
we line up for new chaos
to come flooding in with dawn
yesterday’s bouquet more kale than flowers
the few small dahlias fading into ghosts
unable to compete with light bulb
screen and download ringtone cellular decay
I shut the door
gulp darkness pelting down
my wetted flesh now claimed by rain
the trees are my familiars
open to the feral sky
I enter their salon
a company of the unprotected
I chop seasons with the good hand
but over-ripened nights roll off beneath the knife
and burst their skins
while hours wilt like lettuce wanting shade.
My fingers slip in seedsilk,
seek the grit of salt
the honest thirst that leads
the red and tart to recognize their virtues.
Juicy scoops of jellied wealth
the wet weight that I cup
before it seeps away,
ferments, maybe collapses.
Filling jars I turn and what was warm has cooled,
plum flesh behind glass.
Don’t come telling me about its taste.
You take your chances opening each one.
Betsy Sharp lives on an island where there are no stores and all the electricity is home-made. She works with chickens, clay, paint, and words.