Up Late but If You’re Worried

And all my friends pack together ash castles on the beach after

a bonfire           spit for mortar           and the ocean rolls back home           with a knot


in its stomach             to pick through the day’s personals           There is such a sunlight     A surgeon in a box

prepares a body for dissection           draws lines shapes colors


skin like stained glass           Next to me           in my pew

a fly genuflects and the echo           cathedral wide


deafens           only to be drowned by the organ’s groan             a distorted sound like

Wheel of Fortune’s Bankrupt spin               A kid with crossed legs


holding his crotch             hands me a basket and I’m hot in the face

with shame, my single dollar           All I want is the morning paper             My blood stuttering


in the sunlight         the sky so heady, thinking the world of itself         On my front porch,

one neighbor kid           triages the other neighbor kids


after a game of cops and robbers         I will walk back inside without the paper         without my arm

either         and my one good hand going inside           my pocket for an excuse         comes out addled


Peter Twal is an electrical engineer living in Lafayette, Indiana. His works have appeared (or will soon) in Kenyon Review Online, Ninth Letter Online, Quarterly West, cream city review, The Journal, Devil’s Lake, RHINO, Booth, Yemassee, New Delta Review, Forklift, Ohio, DIAGRAM, Bat City Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere. Peter earned his MFA from the University of Notre Dame, and you can find more of his work at petertwal.com.