Augur, Butcherbird, Jack Hartley
CW: death, mentions of suicide
We’re walking over the bridge in the town’s meager forest
when you tell me a girl our age killed herself jumping off it.
“Right here,” you say, leaning into the railing, and your voice
gets a dip and lift to it. I might follow her—that kind of sound.
We’re standing in the spot, but I don’t know if I believe you.
You tend to lie, after all. But you keep watching leaves float by,
and so I look down into the water and see her, that girl, bloated green,
water-rot tangled in the bridge supports. She looks back up at me.
I can’t tell if you saw her, too. We’re both quiet now as I straighten
my back to look out at the trees instead. You want me to say something—
I can tell. You want me to tell you not to do it, but my mouth is full of
creekwater. We walk home; I keep my lips carefully shut against the stream.
Jack Apollo Hartley (@jackpollyharts) is a trans bi poet and writer who holds his breath when he crosses bridges. His works can be found in perhappened mag, Southchild Lit, opia mag, and other lovely places.