She’s so darling about the whole thing—
asking me to be a bridesmaid
when we both know but won’t say
how two years ago she called me
drunk from a bar bathroom, her slurs
knotted like fingers in hair.
Sweat pooled in the crook of my arm
as I swore to her, Girl, he’s a dog.
It was the season of abandoned
couches that mushroomed in lawns,
the smell of Palmetto bugs soaked
in hot tequila. God bless
the state lines: I said yes when he asked
on a beach towel between Florida
and Alabama, yes the timeshares
loomed behind us in their turquoise
and salmon knolls, yes the jellyfish
floated thin as ghosts. How long
until I became just a sad and empty bag?
Weeks later, he and I ate sundaes
on a breezy patio, my eyes rimmed
in salt, while a baby screamed
at the next table over. The dogs and I
have this in common—our mouths
remember everything we put in them:
the bright fruit’s unexpected gristle.
Our own Anne Barngrover has some poetry
in Paper Darts