Weekly Write: “Afternoon” by Holly Painter


In the afternoon, when the sun lit
the endless fall of dust particles, we
wondered if only we could see them

and kept wondering as we fell asleep,
your limbs wrapped around me,
a barnacle bigger than the boat,

and your fingers twitched
Morse code messages on my back
as you dreamed and then forgot

you were dreaming, until you woke
and the room was grey and you
remembered there is no color

without the light, except behind
my eyelids where my dreams
continued because I didn’t know

the sun had set and taken all the colors with it.


Holly Painter lives with her wife and son in Vermont, where she teaches writing and literature at the University of Vermont. Her first full-length book of poetry, Excerpts from a Natural History, was published by Titus Books (2015). Her poetry, fiction, and essays have also been published in literary journals and anthologies in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, and the UK.




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