carbonated California summers with sweat beads from Helios
sweet tastes of salt water taffy and chlorine
red lips and speckled cheek dots that point towards the sky
the pool is the Pacific
fish and hot tub jets nibble at my toes
inflatable cruise ships shoot cannons at one another
the colors in the sky came from space
and the fire in our hands moved us towards the center of the Earth.
I sit here watching your eyelids twitch to the shuffling of papers,
and your smile widen to whispers of closeted exchange.
I wonder how many times you’ve heard my name?
If chipped paint on the staircase stands out to you,
or if my feet tapping against the floor fills your headphones with tiresome sounds.
The painting on the wall directly north of your gaze is maddening.
It moves with the direction of your eyes,
adds brush strokes for every time you click your pen or bite your nails.
I watch through the painting,
the colors rely on your spirit to guide them.
Artists from all over reside with their transiting stares,
inviting me to watch you work.
With everyday that passes I grow fonder of that painting.
With every new glance, a scrap of your soul is divulged.
One day I came to watch you paint,
watch layers unravel from tight wound spring.
But when my eyes glanced north
the painting was gone,
and with that you.
The scintillating smolder at dawn or dusk
the beams of color jostled between cracks of the blinds
or the inner ring of your eyes, surrounded by precarious blue
My neighbors shutters lightened by the day
pastel eggs are hidden beneath the multicolored rocks, to be found by cousins whose bellies are full with crystalized marshmallows formed into the shape of bunnies
Hand shaken lemonade sting the cuts on our lips
but sweeten the morning
Bolts in the distance flash down from the sky, taking pictures of this day
Flowers named after a star that keeps us alive
insects giving them life
singing ebullient melodies
Waves of tawny leaves fall to the floor
crunched by rain boots of running children and paws of golden dogs
Light hits the car window and bounces back to the rows of tall grass and hay
laughter is glossy, untroubled.
Smoke puffs out of the muddy car
the long dirt road is soon replaced by melting asphalt
the shutters on my neighbors house are repainted darker, more practical
the sun that once sat on top of the Earth, reddening my shoulders and cheeks
is now covered by office buildings and billboards
Warmth that used to tantalize our fingers
or the haze of the moon over empty parking lots
Claire Montanari is a undergraduate writer from Buffalo, New York who now lives in West Palm Beach, Florida and attends Palm Beach Atlantic University.