The Same Thing Twice by Kami Westhoff
So many creeks are rivered without our consent.
The fingers of trees lace above us and we squint
for stars as if they still matter. You ask if I'm already gone
but I keep quiet. It's better to pebble rocks with the stubborn
skin on our backs. Let the water find the places on our bodies
mouths can't reach. To ask the river to coax the breath
from our lungs and call it even.
Once, I wanted you to call me back to you. To show me a sky
that didn't say sorry for its constant choke of cloud. To comma
what I thought an entirely new paragraph. To bully the river to,
just this once, be the same thing twice.
It's up to us if this shore swallows us or spits us back.
Seagulls don't care whose lover they pluck the eyes from,
whose lips are pecked until teeth flash like flares
of a mid-winter disaster. We invent this scene: we fall
or spring. We ghost the stars or keep them dead.
We dam the river or step aside.
Kami Westhoff is the author of Sleepwalker, which was the 2016 Minerva Rising Chapbook Contest Winner. Her work has appeared in various journals including Meridian, Phoebe, Third Coast, Passages North, Decomp, Carve, The Pinch, Redivider, and West Branch. She teaches Creative Writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.
Louis Staeble, fine arts photographer and poet, lives in Bowling Green, Ohio. His photographs have appeared in “Agave”, “Blinders Journal”, “Blue Hour”, “Conclave Journal”, "Elsewhere Magazine", “GFT Magazine”, “Fifth Wednesday Journal”, “Four Ties Literary Review”, "Inklette Magazine", “Microfiction Monday”, "Paper Tape Magazine", “Qwerty”, “Revolution John”, “Rose Red Review”, “Sonder Review”, “Timber Journal”, “Tishman Review” and “Your Impossible Voice”. His web pages can be viewed either at http://staeblestudioa.weebly.com or http://lstaebl.wix.com/closeup.