We do the don't-kiss-me dance

in a cemetery where the sprinklers

kick on, soaking our clothes, the

fertile ground ripe with past lovers,

inverse Pygmalion monuments.

And under our feet, stones sprout

and bloom.


The rhythm goes one two three four

lunge/ duck dodge/thrust. Red/ greenlight

like eight year olds tramping a bed

of bleeding hearts in the crow's yard,

hurling pebbles at her window. They

 deflect with small scratches, trickle,

pack the dirt in Common time.


Avoiding definition like clods

of Georgia clay smeared

in your hair by playground bullies.

We were hypothetical kids,

responsible and boring,

sidestepping hopscotch and four

square, the clang of red playground

balls on tarmac, a distant sound.

Dodging you like brutal games,


evasive as Monet's bridge, no more

than varying degrees of shadow

over gooey black water and green

things that are all spine, breaking

the surface, invisible in paint.

Ghost-in.-the-graveyard, flashlight

tag, illuminating circles and darkening

before iris' can adjust,

squelching your attempts to go

from CÚzanne to Da Vinci.


E. V. Noechel