Third Night

In Florida, it seems the sun stays out longer

than where I’m from. I have come here


to escape clay, brick. My father taught

the boy I am with to be less like his mother.


The boy buys me a virgin strawberry daiquiri.

We walk together on the beach. Feet in the cool sand,


the cling of fabric to skin, a sudden awareness

of distance— this is ritual. I make a worship


for the sand, pour my drink out. The waves

eat it and the thousand handkerchiefs


I have brought with me, confessed to them.

The boy runs through the waves, is eaten in various ways.


He runs back, slick with night water. I have tricked

myself into thinking he loves me. He loves


his mother, her bottles. Lord, we are young.

We pass couples folded into each other


and into the sand. The bastard pier comes into view.

We turn around, walk towards the hotel.

His mother is waiting in her driftwood

palace. I imagine she is drunk like the first two nights,


hair splayed over the couch like seaweed. My father

is not here to teach the boy. The boy is not here


to teach me to pray to the gods of this beach,

that moon, but he does anyway.


He is not like his mother. He is drunk

on things untouchable. In the end


we are dry, bone-white, blasted

into the night like newborn suns.

Aidan Forster is a junior in high school. He studies creative writing at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the blog editor of The Adroit Journal, a poetry reader for The Blueshift Journal, and the co-founder/editor-in-chief of Fissure. He is the 2016 winner of the Louise Louis / Emily F. Bourne Student Award from the Poetry Society of America, a commended Foyle Young Poet of 2016, and has received multiple recognitions from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. His work appears in or is forthcoming from The Adroit Journal, Assaracus, DIALOGIST, Indiana Review, Two Peach, and Verse, among others.