A Poem by Daniel Coshnear

By Daniel Coshnear


"Girl #8" by Lydia Selk

"Girl #8" by Lydia Selk


So often precedes beautiful
Maybe it’s the alliteration we like
Or the rollercoaster of four syllables
Before three
Do the Buddhists say Breathtakingly Beautiful?
Sure, I remember crushes
The surprise of her face by my locker
Leaning in, smiling, seeing through me
My ears beating blood
Face burning
Like hitting an air pocket
Like sudden cold water
And later, the smell of her shampoo
Could catch me up, a junior seizure
Try this one, though:
She’s not much taller than your knee
Her wet fist tight round your finger
As you cross the highway
Her pale curls, her frail neck
You reach into your mailbox
She pulls away, falling, toddling
On tiny useless feet
Into the vortex of rushing traffic
It was a tall brown blur
Squeak of bouncing springs
Shriek of steel brakes
A UPS truck, the driver
Sitting high and straight
Behind a flat sheet of glass
Your eyes locked on his
Your knees locked
Your lungs, as if shocked
As if repulsed
As if the air itself were poison
The God of Genesis
Breathed life into His created
Breathe, they tell you
They told me, just breathe
You’re okay, she’s okay, it’s okay
You lost your breath is all
Too beautiful.

Daniel Coshnear – dan@coshnear.org – lives in Guerneville, California, works at a group home, and teaches writing in a variety of San Francisco Bay Area extension programs. He is the author of a collection of stories, Jobs & Other Preoccupations (Helicon Nine).

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