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

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.