You’re sitting on a porch in Cleveland
your legs dangling off the side—it’s like the second story or something
and it’s fall so there are probably leaves but the chill is an
undercurrent; it’s not in your bones yet.
You’re sitting there with your dangling legs,
legs that have only been thrown over your shoulders
once or twice, pressed down from the backs of your knees.
Because you’re young, right?
It’s the youth that matters here.
At some point, what’s-her-name, Mary (?)
(who is earthy and older and the type to wear sneakers and a poncho
with lanky-dark hair)
breaks the silent flutter of the leaves
to tell a long and confusing story.
The burden of it to remain with you for years after.
The exact words lost.
After you dangle your legs in Cleveland,
you move to other cities, other states;
the backs of your knees feel the press
of different fingers.
It happens often enough that your
heart bleeds for these various fingers. It bleeds and dries,
bleeds and dries.
NICOLE MASON graduated with her MA in Literature from Northern Michigan University. Currently, she teaches Composition and Creative Writing at Indiana University of South Bend. When she was a little girl, she would ride her bike though Twyckenham Hills and feel like she was flying. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Midwestern Gothic, SOFTBLOW, and Cease, Cows.