memo to man in manito

 Chlorine reeked from unwashed feet & you wagered, you stranger,
that we could smell that dog. Lapped in curse, in danger, sounding stranger.

Can you believe I swam again? I’m drying out on lead-licked bleachers while shitty
Hallmark-sounding ditties play through fuzz-felt speakers &—I’m no saner, just stranger.

I still hear cicada beats groaning, those pool gutters croaking—all in pulse with you.
Is that why sunscreen makes me vomit? We were teenagers, mere strangers.

So, tell me, stranger—how can I know anyone? Trust me, you said. Say it again
now: trust. Sounds forced and endangered, like a sometimes-stranger.

Do you know they closed that pool in Manito? Now milkweeds burst & monarchs flirt where two brothers bobbed in cobweb hurt. Where mutts leaked fainter, breeding strangers.

I’m deep underwater when I smell iron. Chemicals, like time, only cloud so much.
We can say we found it like this, you said. It, you said. Remember? You stranger.

Seth Wade studies English and philosophy at the University of Vermont. He's been published in McSweeney's, The Gateway Review, and Infernal Ink Magazine. He's currently editor in chief of The Gist.