the fireworks were dime-sized above the trees when we didn’t find the mountain
or we do find it, but not that night
it was the most I’d ever felt but that can’t mean I was in love
or it does, but only on Mt. Pollux
which we didn’t reach--
at Ashley reservoir, you lean forward
and then back as if rocking on the front end of a sailboat
you were thinking about Rose again
dead for two years already.
say all you want about physics, propose all your why’s and why not’s but in every rendition
of the story, Rose is gay. and in this rendition, she dies. but only after you both come together
underneath the crepe myrtle, breathless and scared as fireflies trapped in a jar
July heat rising from your body pulled by hers.
two years later, you and I are driving in circles around Mt. Pollux
stop kidding yourself, Frankie, we’re lost
we want the mountain, even if I don’t say so
even if this poem isn’t about how we felt once we reached the top or about the way sound fizzled in our ears like saccharine soda pop
but back to the circles and what’s inside--
imagine for a moment this farm in Massachusetts as I dig my hands beneath the apple seedlings to turn the compact dirt
imagine us back into our bedroom on the second floor heat in lazy piles your open palm
on the back of my neck as you ask again what can be made to feel good.
I am thinking of Rose again
before she was your lover and before you were mine she’s eating strawberry preserves on a slim piece of toast
she says see you in Hell and it’s a wish not a threat, but you don’t
see her yet
a laugh still exploding between us
Lillian Sickler is a queer Chinese American poet, writer, and birth doula currently living in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her poems have been featured in Shade Journal, Crab Fat Magazine, Ghost City Press, and Hobart, among others. She has two cats, Laika and Junebug, and a garden full of white and yellow poppies. Twitter: duckona_junebug; Instagram: duckonajunebug.