by Bri Dent
 Bri Dent is a recent graduate from the University of Northern Iowa. She lives in Chicago, IL. This is her first publication.


They Come in Summertime  

Skinny boys ride bikes to my house, 
exhausted, lost, they collapse on my lawn. 
Dad doesn’t want them here but they’re here and we stand 
five feet apart, just stand in the yard. 
I bring them ice cream. 

The boys in the yard stretch themselves over grass, 
long, terribly long, achingly long, 
forever stretched out 
with spilled vanilla ice cream 
muddying the space between t-shirt and skin.

The boys, made of sinew, 
are climbing trees and spitting down. 
Count the seconds til the spit hits the grass, 
one mississippi, two—
Jack climbs the tallest tree, climbs and climbs. 

He’s threadbare and I’m in love with him. 
I'm thirteen, and I've never loved anyone more. 
He pushes his glasses up his nose and smiles down at me. 
Climb higher, Jack, the top branch, the sky loves you, Jack, 
the limbs will hold. 

I want them to love me like a boy in the yard. 
But I’ll never ride my bike through the country alone, 
pumping my legs, burning my thighs. 
I'll never be the boy climbing my tree. 
I’ll never spit down one mississippi, two mississippi, three— 

I sit on the grass, run blades between my toes, 
I cough up humid sky and 
breathe in the sweat of the boys in my yard. 
They sit shoulder to shoulder and stare at their shoes. 
They have to go. 

I say goodbye. They peddle hard up the hill. 
I watch until their backs disappear, watch until 
I’m the girl in the yard, alone and 
Jack doesn’t look back.
He keeps his eyes on the road. 

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