Sassafras

After the storm, the dense air was sweet with the damp smell

Of moist pavement, of sassafras, of rain-washed earth.

The streetlamps are heavy orbs of peach,

And the navy sky still grumbles with thunder.

The closest bench is glazed with rain,

But he sits anyway, tilting back his smiling face

To let the stray raindrops fall on his lashes and cheeks.

The shadows split his features into shades of amber and ink black.

So I can't quite tell what he's thinking--

But I'm certain he likes it like that.

As I recline on the wet lawn, tearing up the grass and leaves,

I watch the birds shiver from the rain

And he tells me everything will be O.K.

And I believe him.

Oh, I believe him.

But they aren't, and they won't be.

We're simply kids out too late on the street

With the nervous glance, the awkward shift,

Playing nicely for today.

He pierces me with those jewel-bright eyes,

And tells me what I want to hear.

His tongue is like a sassafras leaf,

All lemony sour and bittersweet.

And his elbows and knees on the grass by me

Make me feel like this dreary rain has to stay

For at least one more day.