Late August

by | March 29, 2023

Let me try again.


It is cold.

It is August.

It is the last day for swimming

so you run your hands up against me in the surf,

and I laugh through a mouthful of salt, the stretch

of your shoulders shining, wet with

sunlight, aching my eyelids shut.


The generous spill of your grin,

all teeth and tongue.

I want to cover it with my palms.

To cry water into your throat.


It is August.

Where are your hands?


Splay of fingers straining skin and water,

straining sky. Your palms –

that have held brothers and lovers,

cradled wisdom teeth and chestnuts

and once, when you were seven,

sheltered a bird’s press-paper skeleton.


Your hands, somewhere.

Your hands, soaked.

Your hands with nowhere to go.

The tragedy of your skin tumbling purple and blue.

I keep this with me at all times.


It is August.

It is the last day for swimming.

Sun-drunk, stumbling back to your house,

brittle with salt,

I want to tell you

we’ll go swimming tomorrow.

I want to tell you

we can try again, that I can be soft.


I want to tell you this will make us clean.


Words by Anna Studsgarth. Art by Matthew Kurnia.