where the heat goes when it rises – ellie sharp

we build home out of half a whatever.
a deck of cards smeared across the asphalt
our hands slapping wildly like flying fish.
a watery tongue spills over the rock ledge
and licks at the salt of our spilled trail mix.

i’d write to the water but i’d be wrong.
we don’t come for the tides or shore but the scorching
concrete. the lake is six miles from the sun and wants
to become an ocean. it’s been rising since graduation
so we don’t swim anymore

just stand on the ledge and pretend to jump, hands held and sweaty.
train delays everywhere in a smouldering city so we’ll stay here
waiting for everyone we know to walk by.

the sun comes up for air between scaffolds of clouds.
we scoot back when the lake rises. no worries. it’s not the ash’s fault,
the water returns here same as us.

when you get here, we’ll go somewhere else to sit.
night comes to the shore first so we walk too far for stars
to follow and end up dangled across dawn’s gazebo.
whoever isn’t here will be there,
all of us swimming in time.

ellie sharp is a college student in portland, oregon studying comparative literature. they’ve been published by Blue Marble Review and Bitch Media. they are also editor in chief of their college’s literary magazine, The Reed College Creative Review.

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