Photo Credit: Nigel Gunn
On the gridiron, waves of bodies crash and fall,
bathing in a million watts of yellow light— but
that's behind the line of lithe girls
shaking pom-poms, tossing and tumbling
through the air like the red and gold leaves
falling from the maples surrounding the stadium.
In the bleachers, their mothers shimmy around feet
and knees, selling the night's 50/50 raffle tickets:
one for a dollar, an arm's length for five. Their limbs
arc to measure; their joints stretch with honesty.
While inside, hot gymnasium air stands still, smothering
all, and echoes pop and bounce off every wall.
After each point, all six girls furl up in the center
like petals of a flower at sundown; hands clasped,
they recite cheers for perfection. Pressure is the pulse
of the room; they are driven to be diamonds—
although, aren't they more than just carbon?
The setter wipes sweat from her fingers
as she waits for each pass, raises her palms skyward,
knows that the seven spectators are holding their breath.
After each spike, knees knock on floors
like knuckles rapping on doors to empty rooms.
Geology, a Love Story
They were big together, they knew. Like gravity:
it exists, but few people care.
He was her knight in schreibersite armor,
she said. And he said
she was still his home.
They would stroll, late at night,
holding hands. Their outside hands
wandered into their coat pockets;
they let their fingers play with bits of rock.
They'd spend hours poring over minerals
in empty classrooms.
One deep-scratched table, one hand lens.
They'd pause, every now and then,
to test each others' mouths for halite.
Who needs stargazing? Here,
on Earth, we have apophyllite
When he found her,
he knew she was steadier
than the ground beneath his feet;
she was a place to build a home.
He washed over her
like field manuals spread over a hard wooden table.
like thick ribbons of fudge frosting
spread over a marble cake.
Holly Burdorff lives, works, and attends school in central Ohio. This is her first publication.