Lucy Dacus
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Cartwheel

Lucy Dacus

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Here and there and gone again
Firefly juice on your skin
You're glowing like an atom bomb
This natural thing that you've undone
Outgrew older sister's clothes again
Won't admit you're growing tall and thin
You like your body pulling at the seams
You're not prepared for what the future brings

Curse words and empty cups
Cracked blacktop curling up
Heatwave by midday
Heat lightning on a summer night
And I remember when you used to call
Holed up in the closet in the hall
Scared you wouldn't live to 45
The same age as your father when he died
You'd say, "We need to talk
Sneak out, meet me on your block"
I'd sit by you, silent on the curb
What to say when there is not a word?
Spell broke at daybreak
Light another candle on the cake
Cartwheel and a broken wrist
Skin scarred and sun-kissed

When you told me 'bout your first time
A soccer player at the senior high
I felt my body crumple to the floor
Betrayal like I'd never felt before
I thought back to many years ago
A late night promise on the telephone
We'd build a house of twigs and vines
Grow old together just to pass the time
Now there's only past and present day
I can't believe a word you say
The future isn't worth its weight in gold
The future is a benevolent black hole

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