This locket is not empty, but filled with two
wet ghosts. In my sleep, your mouth is cinnamon.
You pack lunch before I wake up. I like it
when we get in deep water together.
When we get in at the same time.
We tie two inner tubes together and float.
We sip beer and say, “When we are old…”
When I say “you” I hope you feel special.
Also, here is this gift wrapped in newspaper.
Your favorite comic strip. Your preferred
political figure. Your ideal day
on the weather page. Half the sun peers
from a full cloud. The yellow ink
does not smudge like ink that says,
“Accident,” or ink that says, “Gunman.”
I want you to stop calling time
and temperature to feel less alone.
When did you get so shiny? Your face
in sunlight. My hands cup my mouth—
a megaphone, or the sign for whistling
on a blade of grass. The green ribbon sounds
like us in the river, afraid water snakes.
We carry rocks in a basket and crack
them open on shore, hoping for geodes.
Behold my high ponytail as we swing
picks at these geodes. Your hair like dark,
wet sand where I write the message:
every day is a great hair day on the river
with you. We come home
to construction. We make a feeling.
Skin like a letter, skin in a language.
Your French is shabby, so this cinnamon
will do. Each day we smell the feeling.
We drag rocks down the wide river.
We write each other’s name on the thick
rubber tubes. We write in river water.
Ink that disappears when it dries,
ink that says, “Swim” or “Carry.”
Gina Keicher is the author of Wilderness Champion (Gold Wake Press, 2014) and the forthcoming chapbook Here Is My Adventure I Call It Alone (dancing girl press, 2015). A graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA program in Creative Writing, Gina is currently an associate editor for Black Lawrence Press. Recent work appears in Big Lucks, Birdfeast, and Green Mountains Review. She lives in Ithaca, NY with her husband, their cat, and their dog.