The sense of death that swung
over the house the night of my
last birthday party was not quite
like a pendulum in the glide
of pine and cypress branches,
though it silted through to sand
and roots in the forms of allergens
and leaded gases. We recognized
it all as if it were a lucre, like
chrome, or damp candy: a perilous
and enticing message, the flavor
still steaming from its last licking.
So we hightailed it back to our
sleeping bags, our pillows, other
hard diversions from our grievances:
age stolen from our souls, tension
in our skins, the desire for proof
when proof was prohibited. She’s
as light as a feather, as light as a
feather, we chanted, as if to make
the proof particulate; to lift one
of our choosing with nothing but
our fingers, our knuckles swollen
and awkward with the possibility
of handling tobacco, our conventional
adolescences hanging in the aggregate.
Once we had bungled it all,
crank calls, girlish overtures
and spiritual vocations, we
wrenched open the door to find
the night in a rare candescence,
as if it had been sprayed with a
vapor long discredited by science
textbooks and our street lamps.
Someone began collecting ivy
and petals; someone eviscerated
my mother’s cigarette filters.
Such was the end of our numinous
reasoning, and the beginning
of our scorching obsessions.
Jane Rosenberg LaForge lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, and has published two poetry chapbooks, "After Voices'' from Burning River in Cleveland and "Half-Life'' from Big Table Publishing Co. in Boston. She has also published short fiction, personal and critical essays online and in print, in publications such as the Ne'er-Do-Well Literary Magazine; The Adirondack Review and the Western Journal of Black Studies.