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at rock mountain bible camp, i learned to pray with my mouth closed photo

he holds his breath like
            i do. cheeks ball
oon like a church his neck
            tight as blood.
the boys in my cabin call me
            lilac and after
morning worship we’ll learn
            how to draw
a bowstring. the lake is
            glassgreen and
the boys in his cabin call him
            canary. he is from
where i’m from except i live
            on the river at the
hearth of the hill. they ask
            us to write a letter
to our fathers but the markers
            smell like sidewalk.
we say grace and grace and
            grace before our
bodies can know what
            the throat knows.
            one night canary
and i sneak out of our
            cabins the moon
full as an accident. he teaches
            me to swim.
his hands beneath my shoulders
            making a boat
of our body. my hair in
            his soft teeth. he
says do a flying dance with
            your legs.
like you’re running up stairs
            and no one can
hear your feet. he pulls
            me under. his
            laughter be
comes windows under water.
            they film to
the surface then pop into
            air near and round.


image: Aaron Burch