Joy

by Andrew Koch

Sun-baked freckles, Indian burns and two
sets of small biceps. Orange floaties inflated
with lips spitty around a plastic nipple. Stale
saliva, small toes across a slimy pool-
bottom, chlorine that tastes like refried
beans and the faintest scent of sulphur.

I think my heart quit beeping, Joy tells
Martha when they make-believe kissing.

Hands pressed to ribs, chests bony and
compact where brick-woman misplaces their
heartbeats, assumes one or both of them is
already dead. Kneeling under the black-
burnt shade of the trampoline, they make
pacts to tell their mothers they love the devil
because it’s what Jesus would do.

Joy smiles rock candy smiles, wired with
braces, watches Martha when she goes to
pee behind a shed.

Andrew Koch is a poet currently living with his wife and cat in Spokane, Washington, where he also teaches English and is a candidate in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University. His poetry has previously appeared in Bluestem, Connotation Press, Mojo, Rust + Moth, you are here and others.

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