Shoshana Lovett-Graff

brian moved to philadelphia
asked if i wanted to visit the boat
he now works turning ropes
slowly in his hands
searching for frays
he moves so carefully
through the tender belly
of the boat in penns landing
the boat which tips the edge
of the harbor into history
mostly forgotten

he stumbled through
the garden at halloween
clutching maria's hand.
we all watched, a flock
on a cut edge, as he laid
her on the stone bench
she rocked forward
then swayed back
in dim backyard lights
none of us knew her
she laid on the periphery
of knowing, someone we knew
wouldn't get caught with a hand
up her skirt while we sat
in frozen grace, not knowing—
Everything okay out here?
yes i said
shielding the scene
with my body
the shame we dipped
into still fresh and wet
we're good

I had forgotten until
I saw his lean arms
caress the gullet
of the boat, stroking the bow
with the gentle care
of a man who knows

Shoshana Lovett-Graff is a writer from New Haven, Connecticut. She is a nonfiction editor for Toho Journal and her work can be read in The Flexible Persona, Atlas + Alice, The East Coast Literary Review, and more. She is interested in place-based identity and ritual innovation.

Twitter: @shoshush20

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