We gather and compare our stories,
Our pasts, to those of our oldest friends.
The fog of the mind draws back
Like curtains on a stage,
Exposing the memories lost
Until awoken by their wide smiles
As we converse about the grass stains on our jeans
And the plywood basketball goals.
We talk of the sand that covered the court
After the flood we were dismissed for
And built sand castles in the teacher’s frustration.
The sweat we mustered
In the intensity of competition
Back in the September heat,
The coolness of the tile
As we spent the afternoon on the floor.
The names we earned for ourselves
With feats deemed memorable by
The collective, childish group.
Some of us knew who we would be
Before some of us read our first chapter book.
Many of us are still searching.
We played cards under tables.
The boys quietly placed bets
And chewed tobacco like their fathers
While some of the girls whispered of the dirty little things
Written on the bathroom wall.
The drama in our little lives
Seemed much more entertaining then.
Now, only the monotony of our slightly larger lives.
We have grown
In many ways.
Sometimes, unnoticeable changes,
But never unnecessary.
Each change came at its own time
With its own reason.
The old have an infatuation
An odd, collective curiosity
With the dead
And a cordial conversation
With the living.
Have you ever watched a story told without words?
Dancers spring onto the stage
In their dark costumes
And tell the story with their bodies
Dark curtains draw
Here is a family reunion
For the wrong reason
“It’s gonna be ok.”
You cannot get enough of the sea—
It calls you back every night
To swim in its waves
And meet every monster
Lurking in its deeps
You wake in the sand
With no memories of the depths
Your toes left in the water
The roaring waves are deafening
Slowly, you begin to despise the sun
You start to loathe the day
And you wait for the stars
When the dark finally shows itself
You run to the water
Every night you run
You grow tired
The desire for the water grows
You decide it’s easier to stay in the surf
Than to run from the sand
So you stay
Everyone who tries
To get you to return to land
Is now your enemy
They do not understand your love
And you float further
Away from the shore
Until you can’t see it
The need for it
Becomes all you know
Your heart breaks at the loss of the land
But you’ve accepted it
The waves grow taller and taller
Becoming like mountains around you
And they fall
And drown you
Fill your lungs
Every part of you
It seeps into your bones
And the water
Drags you down
And you shake hands with the monsters
You met the first time in its deeps
Sarah E. Hunter is a student at the University of the Cumberlands majoring in Public Health, Christian Ministries, and Missions. Missions work overseas is what she hopes to do soon after graduating in 2020. Her poetry is meant to reflect late-night thoughts and hard-to-put-into-words emotions.