in the burbs where he isn’t welcome.
He finds a way into the crawlspace
Behind your closet because he used to live there too.
Your town sits between interstates 71 and 675,
a tapestry of burgs speckled with gas stations,
Episcopalian churches, dirty public pools.
You know every single person in this Walmart,
and everyone pretends to be somewhere else,
like France or their girlfriend’s couch in New York.
You fist fight your third grade bully
next to the dumpsters outside the mall.
You haven’t seen him in eight years.
Everyone’s lawn is covered in straw
but their grass still grows in yellow,
and the corn is a foot deeper than the lake.
Summer in Ohio feels like summer on Mars,
dusty and thick, the sun a watery marble in the clouds.
It always threatens to rain a day or two before it does.
Your beer cans pile up. Your books are limp,
everyone is moving through honey. You sleep on the hood
of your car or in a cocoon of sweat—
caught in this brick of a season, this pastoral foundation.
The woods always get thicker before the ledge over the creek.
Corinne Engber is the young adult writer at Jewish Boston and recently completed her MA in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. She also served as the head poetry editor for Brainchild Magazine based out of Kent State University. She lives in Boston with her partner and their cat.