One Monday morning, we decide
to call in sick to work & wake
before dawn to go see the sun-
rise. We walk into the night, no
cars speeding along the highway,
no neurotic neighbor walking
her cat & her dog. We sneak
through the tear in the fence
to reach my favorite orchard,
the one rife with ripe peaches
& plums all spring and summer
long. You settle on the grass below
while I twist fruit free from a tree,
toss you a peach to eat while
we wait for the sky to turn purple
then pink. We lay down our heads,
happy to feast on our peaches
& look up at the bright stars.
When they begin to fade, I say
I love this & hear the rustle of earth
as you turn to face me. What?
I think of the time I wanted to die
& you brought me flowers.
The world. You smile, turn toward
me enough to drop a kiss
in the crook of my elbow, move
up my curve of shoulder. The sky
turns honey-colored, like skin
in the summer. I love you, you say,
& the first morning birds sing
their songs. You stand up, hurry
off out of fear, maybe,
but presumably to better see
the view. I follow, peeling
my thighs from the dew-damp grass
that surely leaves crisscrossed
lines on my bare thighs. I reach
out for your hand as you watch
the sun come up through the fruit
trees and pines. I watch
the way your face brightens
with the sky.
AS THE TAXI TAKES ME HOME,
I look out at all the lights and think
of your bright eyes, the way they fix
on me every time we wade out
into the lakewater. The rain drums
against the roof of the car, spatters
against the window, blurring
the storefront signs I’ve memorized.
The night is dark—a gentle reminder
that there’s so much we still don’t know.
But I know that the rain makes
these lights look like comets,
brightness streaking across the sky.
Maybe that sounds clichéd or romantic,
and maybe it is. But it’s these city lights,
the way they shine in the showers,
that remind me that this world is more
than its downpour.
Despy Boutris’s writing has been published or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, American Literary Review, Copper Nickel, The Journal, Colorado Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She teaches at the University of Houston, works as Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.