Tamara Burross

Horse Creek Levee


At Horse Creek lev­ee by the sod farm,

azure-thrum­ming skies were veined with

the sil­ver-green reach­es of birches.

We chain smoked until sick,

stubbed out our butts in the sand,

sank our emp­ty cans and sent them

bob­bing downstream.

We swam oceans in that campes­tral creek,

float­ed on our backs with our ears submerged,

heard the roar of the green murky world beneath

and gig­gled as min­nows nipped at our toes.

As the crick­ets’ trilling rose,

the dusk dripped and pooled around us -

vio­let ink soak­ing sun­down clouds

still glow­ing pink.

We took final leaps

off the bridge into the frigid

water, stag­gered the perimeter

drunk and grinning.

The sur­round­ing mead­ows on a swel­ter­ing night

were lit bright with the sparkle of fireflies.

We’d cap­ture a few in a big Mason jar,

and stab holes in the lid with a pocketknife.

We’d sit around the fire renounc­ing our gods,

drink until we retched up our convictions.

And then the crim­son-ridged skies were shipwrecked

in jet. We fell back and made peb­bly sand angels.

We stared up at the glit­ter­ing brush­stroke of stars,

and embraced in the shad­ows for tat­tered scraps

of val­i­da­tion, skipped rocks in the dark,

strummed out chords on a bat­tered guitar,

and our laugh­ter sang hymnals

to the gospel of summer.


Tamara Burross has pub­lished a poem in New World Writing, and is a grad­u­ate of the SUNY Buffalo State College English Literature program.