• Sam Barbee

Midnight Swim


by Sam Barbee

Fireflies celebrate solstice, each starburst

a perfect plunge. Provide pulse, bedazzle outlines

of maple and holly, black fringe against silver midnight.

The night-ocean submerges each silhouette.

Random flickers off each leaf, bats and night birds

breaststroke in moonlight. Rocking behind the porch screen,

we excuse today’s malice. We sway, once fulfilled

to witness little, now witness everything.

Find ballast for each grievous sting. Frogs, buoyant

about a neighbor’s pool, belch, deafen us with their rippling joy –

arouse what we can imagine tomorrow: cloudless

altar and truer tongues dispelling snarls of revision.

We are heroes, backstroking darkness, doing our best

to retain esteem. In the morning we will bury dry bulbs

like beads, plant the seeds and husks for blooms: colorful waves

to cleanse remorse and rhetoric; splice regret with awe we are eager to tread.

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