CLEO ROHN

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

Image by Issara Willenskomer

The First Time You See Him With Her

every day for the last four months, it has rained
                            even when the sun is out
is what you won’t tell him
                            there is rainwater pooling
under your boots, into the emergency exit
                            in fourth grade,
you could tread water for five minutes and forty-two seconds
                            in the cafe light, her hair
is hometown pool deep-end cerulean
                            you will try it again now

The City is a Crossword Puzzle Half-Solved

I.
My new neighborhood
tells me to climb a mountain
the day I move in. Instead,
I stack boxes in the elevator,
drag the pieces of my cardboard past
to the kitchen, lay down
on the linoleum, as if the floor
is a graveyard of lost friends.
This is the last compromise
left in my body.

II.
Since I forgot the sound
of your voice, I imagine
you sound like everything.
When summer winds its way
through the city,
and leaves gossip
in whispers to leaves,
I imagine you are calling.

III.
There are streets
the shape of you
I am afraid to walk down.
There are doors I’m afraid
to open, even more
I’m afraid to shut.
In the morning, I bathe
myself in unanswered
questions, sit quiet
in the silence you left.
At night, I lie in bed
and make the letters
of your name over
and over on my thighs.
When he asks what
I’m doing, I tell him
I am praying.

Cleo Rohn (she/her) is a poet, spoken word performer, and educator with her roots in rural Vermont and her branches in Seattle. Her work often dwells on the link between sense of place and sense of self, and on the basic essences that connect us to one another. She has performed in New England and the Seattle area, and her work has been published in After Happy Hour Review, The Water Tower, Vantage Point, and Dryland Lit.

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