Inside Your Cheek You Carry Stones

by Dorsey Craft

We sit together on the bed of a white pickup that draws
an empty trailer along an island road, just come from dropping

the boat in the water, from catching small rays and throwing
them back. Your toes drag gravel, rest on aluminum,

curl in the air like fish. When water bugs are snatched
from below, it seems they were never there. This is what

it is like when you are no longer beside me, when I watch
the trailer roll over your back, the spine I’ve kneaded

during cartoons, yellow light on our glasses in half dark,
the body I’ve learned and relearned as we grow old enough

to be barred from bed-sharing, to leap apart if doors
squeak open, learned that your body that is mine and more.

When the stones lodge inside your cheek and never
come out again, when a tire tread purples your torso,

when the jagged new hairline is ripped, I remember
entering your house I’d inhale to try and name the scent

not quite my own. Stones came to mind. Screaming is not
what people do on coasters. My scream stopped a truck

and trailer your body couldn’t hold. I ran for the phone
to call the helicopter to whisk you off our island.

In your hospital bed, I asked if you remembered the rays,
their rippling backs as they disappeared deep. You asked

me to let you sleep. Cousin, follow me. I want us to dangle
again. I want to see which parts of us will break first.

Dorsey Craft
holds degrees from McNeese State University and Clemson University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in
Crab Orchard Review, The Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, Rhino Poetry, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere. She is currently a Ph.D student in poetry at Florida State and the Assistant Poetry Editor of  The Southeast Review.

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