– after Natasha Tretheway’s “Incident”
It happened at least once a year. The ER doors
slid open. Her lip her chin her knee her palm,
Here comes another one. The nurse’s sigh
The ER doors slid open. Bloodied towel
a child’s testament. Nurse’s voice
a hushed penumbra, doctor’s lamp seared
apple flesh, cleaved wide.
A girl, a bloodied towel. Her mother
said, I had no idea. Sun-bright, the silver needle
stitched ragged flesh, split open. Mother
said, sorry, sorry.
Mother wept, I didn’t believe her. The girl drifted
on narcotic waves. Mother
on the phone, sorry, sorry. You know, you know,
she’s accident prone.
The girl dreamed white-hot needles, floated navy narcotic
oceans. Mother, insistent, I had no idea.
A girl, a prophecy. Accident prone. It happened
at least once a year.
Summertime, n. 1. Female. As in sleepaway camp, as in sleeping away, as in away from ______, as in blue, as in moon, as in second full, as in July, as in lake’s edge, as in silvery. 2. Warm. As in open windows, as in neighbors can hear, as in heatless VW van, as in who cares. 3. Water. As in swim, as in length of every pool, as in breath-holder, as in rising, as in bungalows on stilts, as in stork, as in ______ standing one-legged in the sea, as in wave, as in under. 4. Feet. As in bare, as in brown, as in crimson toes, as in flip flops, as in no snow boots, bread-bags, crumb-stuck socks. 5. Free. As in purple sparkle banana seat bike, as in gift from ______, as in light ‘til 9 p.m., as in grownups shitfaced on sangria, as in making out with Matt Matera, as in first French kiss, as in night sky Milky Way chalky smear, as in light pollution, as in. 6. Sun. As in star, as in baby oil, as in slathered, as in crisscrossed tan lines, as in solar system, as in Andromeda, as in universe. 7. Light. As in sunrise, as in tiptoe outside, as in toenails shimmering with dew, as in being put to bed while it’s still. 8. Station Wagon. As in yellow, as in way way back, as in emissions, as in global warming, as in climate change, as in lost mile of beach, as in disappeared. 9. Refugee. As in stranded, as in sinking, as in rooftop, as in sleep away camp over, as in can’t go home, as in no home. 10. Done. As in Earth turning on its axis, as in Earth orbiting its star, as in bright face of Americas spun away from the sun, as in lightless, as in warmth seeping away, as in frozen ground, as in ice, as in ______ returning, as in January.
Erica Bodwell is a poet from Concord, New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in White Stag, Entropy/Enclave, APIARY, The Fem, Coal Hill Review, Litbreak, PANK, HeART, Barnstorm, Hot Metal Bridge, The Tishman Review and other journals. Her chapbook, Up Liberty Street, was a finalist for the 2015 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest, the 2015 Blast Furnace Chapbook Contest and the 2015 Minerva Rising Chapbook Contest. She participated in the July 2016 Tupelo Press 30/30 Project.