Sleep Water | Laura Maher

$ 7.00

Laura Maher holds an MA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Her work has appeared in Crazyhorse, New Ohio Review, Third Coast, and The Collagist. She lives and writes in Tucson, Arizona.


These Nights Come


Boys are always dying in the summer months,

when nights—so short—elephant-walk past porches,

past people smoking outside houses, the people playing

pretend with lovers, pretending that it is not smoke

that yellows paperback books, but the weather, the books

folded open like lungs, and the people pretending to hate

the burn, the heat, but enjoying it, always standing outside

in the summer—when boys are dying, their bodies not found

until morning, lying, like lovers, curled around a tree—

                these nights come

heavy like a burden, a bastard, but offer some relief—they must—

like prayer, calming the fear of almost-believing,

like a nighttime breeze, like hearing your own voice echo

in a church where you once fell to your knees—

funeral songs played by keyboards, the organs replaced

in all churches—it is summer—heavy coins on my eyes.