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chlorine

it’s summer, and I’m back from college
floating in your pool with my ears underwater,
looking upwards at the night sky.
a star here, and there, few and far between.
earlier you had told me, the lights from the city
are why we can’t see anything.
I could almost touch your nose with mine
as we sway in the water. I hoped,
in a moment of vanity,
that the freckles across my cheeks
were visible in this quarter-light, eighth-light,
fragments of the neighbor’s back porch light.
straying through the cracks in your fence
to land on the back of your head, sketching
your crown. I can’t look in your eyes, I can’t -
-
allow myself to see the lack of something there.
I can’t allow myself to mistake fondness for -
- .
it’s enough that the light skipping over your hair
lands on my face, too. it’s an accidental caress,
perfect with its heavy weight
and misleading simplicity.
my chest is heavy from the water -
- and you.
I laugh at your cynicism, cold-cut objectivity,
and tell you that the orange glow of the city
along the nighttime horizon is a perfect,
improbable dawn. you shrug, and return to diving
for things at the bottom of the pool. I lay back
into the water, and it envelops me, smothering all sound
except for the muffled kicks of your movement.
I look up -
-
at the scattering of stars that can outshine the dawn.

--Camille S., Adult