One Night in the Midwest

By CATHERINE ESTHER COWIE

I smell her—
she is in the bed sheets
conjuring aged summers
when popsicles stained
our mouths red,
and the sun colored
our noses black.
We wore her jewels proud,
brown bodies glistening
in our neon pink and purple suits.
She tangled our hair with her touch,
kissed hard, too often,
rolled us around until we landed
back flat on the shore.

How has she come here,
left her scent?
I hear her,
the missing roar
in a left-open window—
a call home
to her sargassum-filled belly,
and dirt roads twisting
around sodden hills.

But I am accustomed to this place,
the naked trees open to the sky,
the neat brick apartment buildings,
the thick white thighs of winter.
How do I tell her what she is now—
a closeted self,
a party-trick I pull out
—sad story of missing the sea.

 

Catherine Esther Cowie was born on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and has lived in Canada and the U.S. She is a graduate of the 2017 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and her writing has appeared inThe Penn Review; Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Forklift, Ohio; Flock; and Moka Magazine, with new works forthcoming in Potomac Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Portland Review. Recently, she graduated from the Pacific University low-residency MFA program. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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One Night in the Midwest

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