I regret bringing a plastic Smartwater bottle
to this gathering of eco-minded artists, and want
to tell each person how many times I’ve refilled
this particular bottle in order to justify my place
amongst them. Who among us is not culpable,
I will say, as they eject me from the U shape
we’ve made sitting cross-legged beneath the trees.
But I am not ejected. A dog licks my right hand
before revealing her belly. We examine a pile of rocks
and discuss geological timescale. Each rock is a verb,
a piece of evidence. Volcanic eruption, coral reef,
mountain belt. It is important to be in the right place
at the right time. I want to rub myself into the dirt,
become something more like a witness and closer
to immortal. I think about my dead friend —
her perfect face, her collapsed future — and confess
to temporal illiteracy. At this point the air turns cold
and it starts to rain. We run for the red awning,
fat droplets bursting on our skin.
Rhoni Blankenhorn is a Filipina-American writer. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in RHINO, Pigeon Pages, Girl Blood Info, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere. She is a member of the School for New Art Geographies, and a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University. Find her on social media @rhonierika.