June 21st – July 22nd
Mercury is dying and you stand on the front step of your parents house. Nobody is quite sure what to say. Finally, your mother stirs.
“Sixteen years. Where you been?”
They lead you to your old bedroom, still the same as it was. Candles at different stages of life mount the headboard where once there had been knick-knacks. You spend the night packed tight in your old bed, staring up at the ceiling, at the luminescent firmament of faded glow-in-the-dark stars.
“Sixteen years,” your mother will say again at the dinner table, while your father looks on silently, water frozen in his eyes. You don’t understand either. You still remember the last day, how sudden and cold everything felt. Half-buried notions of you stir where your heart had been:
football with Mostin.
Matt Bell’s endless mullet;
his dad’s metal detector.
Mercury is dead, and your eyes are heavy. Not tired, just heavy. There will be no dreams. Just the same scene playing out over and again: the sound of shifting soil giving way to a liquid silver sun.
And now here you are in your old room;
eroded by the earth,
apart at the seams –
where you been?