A Poem by Katelyn Roth

I drive to the city

to a park, which are different
in the city (city park), and sit
in sun that only looks warm
(because sometimes
things only look warm), and the guy
in the offroader next to me
gets a beer from his trunk
after a while and we sit
side-by-side in our cars, not acknowledging
each other, him drinking his beer
in a ballcap, me nursing a new album
on the radio, and the couple in the long grass 
just ahead
is kicking a soccer ball
and trying cartwheels. I feel
as if there is nothing
I could more reasonably be doing
than watching the thin cat hunched
on the treacherous side of the railing 
of a balcony across the street. 
(I can’t know this,
but at home, my dog is yowling
at every pass of the neighbors
overhead. Who isn’t yowling
at things passing just overhead?)
You will ask which songs on this
new album were my favorite—always 
the saddest ones. I wish I could connect
over easy, simple, human things, like the beer,
like the ballcap, like a soccer ball
and the sharp coolness of the grass
under-palm as I circle myself over it,
but the saddest songs are my favorites,
it must be agony and nothing else, and his beer
must be a sad beer, and his cap must be
to hide his tired eyes, and the couple must be
on their last attempt to reconcile, and
the cartwheels must be a frenzied swipe
at what is always just overhead.

Assistant Editor Katelyn Roth has a master’s in poetry from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press, in Apeiron Review, and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives in Columbus, Ohio where she is an MFA candidate at Ohio State University.


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