p-street-beach

“You won’t believe how cold it is,” he said,
and then the phone died. Ha! — he should have stayed.
I shivered in the old, half-empty bed.

The bumps across his back were fuchsia-red.
He winced beneath the tiny silver blade.
“You won’t believe how cold it is,” he said.

A path beside the bridge on P Street led
to woods where as a horny kid he’d played.
I shivered in the old, half-empty bed

while he lay in Bethesda, getting bled.
The woods were silent now. Just shadows strayed.
“You won’t believe how cold it is,” he said,

“at night here — dark’s the only thing I dread”
— yet never cried for light, and never prayed.
I shivered in the old, half-empty bed.

Last night I woke with laughter in my head.
He’d lain beside me — real, though strangely grayed.
“You won’t believe how cold it is,” he said.
I shivered in the old, half-empty bed.

— for Austin Marc Johnson

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