Teresa Leo: The Lasting

What we will remember is this—
in the graveyard late at night,
the brief curve of the body

as we hoisted ourselves up the cemetery wall,
that moment of hanging when weight shifted back
to some image of ourselves

holding out like kids in our parents’ kitchens
when love fell away in knives and screams;
that moment when the ground took on the circumference

of lost connections: the inevitable walk
down childhood driveways, trophies we chalked up
outrunning ourselves, dreams of ourselves,

and the ground was hard. We scaled the wall
and lay down anyway, not like lovers,
but friends who knew the hysterical cry of mornings

when fear built in the belly and turned over
like a sweaty palm after a beating.
Stretched out on our backs,

you said the wind moved horizontally
through the trees. That you heard it move
across and not down the trees meant

you understood the vertical drop of too much
idle chatter, the way balance is everything recoverable,
the sky just a hunk of space for limbs to lock

and unlock at night. No amount of talk
could change the number of fortresses we built
just out of earshot of our parents’ calling,

the black and blue houses we put our backs to,
each distinct step the first count of twenty paces
from everything we knew.

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