Boom, Water Breeze, Theme Park

By Joel Walton

Image courtesy of Katie Harbath (


From separate blankets
we watch weeping willows
burst and bloom in the air.

July explosions:

sky fire
easing the darkness
three seconds at a time.

So much like your hand
burrowed in a tiny grave
of beach sand,
just out of reach.


Water Breeze

That night in the creek
we crept upstream,
kept to the big stones
and trusted debris.

Kat tells me fear is a sham
and steals three plums
from a backyard tree.
She bites into one:
fear is a sham, she says,
the way it takes a voice
without having one of its own.

Image Courtesy of Angie Vianzon (

I smile at the plums,
afraid she will know
that most nights this voice
feels like a box of all white crayons
or that spout cranked open after so long,
all squeaks and speckled belches.

Perhaps tonight is different
with our heels in water, the moon
in wisps of your hair
like a bulb flash.

So I agree
and watch minnows lunge
at the plum bits you sailed downstream.


Theme Park

Hour two of the wait,
our lips counting passengers ahead:
clusters of eight, eight, eight, eight,
till we are one and two.

Finally the platform:
I lunge for the middle car,
the quick-fix
but you squeeze my arm
and offer two free passes
to an eager pair behind;

you reassure me
from the corner of your mouth,
the back gets all the hill.

Then the crest,
with the wind, the night—
your secret and in my chest,
the pledge of new bones.

Beneath us
the boredom,
the gum walls,
the lady in teal asking
to stay off the rails.

Joel Walton teaches English and Philosophy at a high school in Worthington, Ohio.  His favorite things in life are popsicles, mind-enriching films, basketball, and unhurried human interaction.  Joel recently proposed to his ideal playmate for life, Amy, who shares his belief that poems are a good defense against trivial living.

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