by Arielle Greenberg
Mikey tells me the section he likes best is the hum of in-between,
and although I haven’t thought about it like this before,
I can see what he means: the soft middle, the evening fade; the melty,
start-of-summer Texas gleam of the day, from dusk through twilight to dark.
House party cancelled, groups arrange and rearrange,
shotgun and tailgate and back seat, then converge to shuffle again while parked.
Then: some blankly full hours of aimless cruising.
Just driving around. Nowhere in particular to be.
Hanging out on the verge, the cliff, the curb, the ground;
the kids are nearly seniors, nearly high school, nearly done,
nearly themselves, with a stretch of empty, hot months ahead
in which to churn or bloom or rot.
The run-up, the waiting-to-see-what-comes-next—
this is what all of adolescence felt like, right?—
but even as it feels like nothing’s happening, everything is:
zero to sixty, you are suddenly and constantly charged and up,
gunning for a fight or a fuck or a truth delivered fast and sloppy,
like beer through a funnel, like when what you’ve wanted you get too soon.
Eventually, kids need to land at a landmark, a beacon,
where it can get started, where it will seep through,
and then they will need to scatter and roll over and depart
when it unfurls in the way of mornings after:
a drop-off, kiss at the door. For now, though: a passageway.
A liminal space. The dark side of the moon.
Arielle Greenberg is the Resident Poet at Bright Wall/Dark Room. She is the co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic; author of My Kafka Century and Given; and co-editor of three anthologies, including Gurlesque. She lives in Maine and teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades' MFA; she is currently teaching a course in American cinema to insightful students at the Maine State Prison enrolled through the University of College at Rockland (hi, guys!). Arielle writes a regular column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review.