THE TREES, AS IF OVERNIGHT
I’ve been carrying around your book
like a life. Night a dress I slip on. We cross
many bridges together. Streetlamps on the far bank
flicker like a birthday. Somewhere nearby
a party starts to take off. A merry-go-round
spins on its axis, the river bottom a forest
of zebra mussels. Under what snag of trunk
does the hook lodge to reel us in? Last time
I wore the red Chinese dress you said You look like
and stopped. Here, there’s no shortage of cafés.
We lean in moonpatches beneath an awning.
Streets cast off their names. I find it impossible
to synchronize our longings, yet it seems
that a stopping-off point has been reached.
We navigate by how the lights look on water.
It’s your holiday I’m taking with me, after all.
J.L Conrad is the author of A Cartography of Birds (Louisiana State University Press). Her poems have appeared in Pleiades, Third Coast, Jellyfish, Salamander, Mid-American Review, The Laurel Review and Forklift, Ohio, among others. She currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where she is working toward her PhD in literary studies.