we ride skateboards on the edge of the

street, one sneaker afraid to leave

the pavement. all summer, we move through

the triptych:

me, legs sprawled on the carpet

as we go between your sister’s room—which had

the AC, the next size up for your gauges, hair dye—

your bedroom—where I would draw or write and you

would play Resident Evil, mad each time the

president’s daughter was killed—and sitting on the edge

of your tub, cold bath water against our scalps,

one hand cradling the neck like a child,

the other holding the shower head, purple swirling;

you, laying on the grass, singing into

the bright blue sky. maybe it was a song we loved,

or maybe a song from theater camp. who can remember why

when the lyrics are burned there forever. picking grass

to make it whistle—something your brother taught you—

or snapping the rubber bracelets on our wrists until

they broke. I pulled a black one apart and a boy we were

with turned pale. we laugh, knowing we had no interest

in these acts yet, but it was fun to see them squirm;

us, standing in your garage, humidity palpable. maybe

you were smoking a snuck cigarette or burning something

with your father’s lighter. my heart pumped, afraid of getting

caught—in awe your mother never noticed. talking about

how funny it was that mean kids with malice on their lips

could not get between us, with lies or truths. why did they want

so badly to break our world in two?

and just then, the sky opened up, water spilling on the

street. without a second though, we ran out—

barefoot on the cool concrete—screaming songs we knew

too well. We are young and we don’t care—

thick hair in ropes down our backs, my dress soaked through,

your shorts turned blue to black, our legs speckled with

mud from the road. we dance until we’re called in

by your mother, who throws us towels and a dirty look.

any time a summer storm moves in,

and the thick air breaks to a breeze,

I feel that relief—that awestruck joy—

brought about by thunder

and a little spark

between the trees.

Maura Lee Bee (she/they) is a queer, LatinX writer based out of New York City. You can find her writing in YES Poetry, Ghost City Press, Breadcrumbs, and more. She’s a previous Pushcart (2019) and Best of the Net (2020) nominee. Her first book “Peter & the Concrete Jungle” was published in 2017. When she isn’t busy dismantling an otherwise oppressive system, she enjoys reading books, baking pies, and meeting new dogs.

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