"When the panicked laughter gives to newfound shrieking"
You don’t remember what started it, but you were both chuckling about something that doesn’t matter,
And it becomes more akin to wheezing, to shouting, to the side-stitching weights that lift off of the chest,
When the panicked laughter gives to newfound shrieking and you find you have been holding your breath until this moment,
The picnic blankets scatter and spreads tumble and you scavenge maps to the different countries you will seek together,
In early spring when it feels new enough that you can point to the leaves flowering on bushes without having to justify,
You roll onto the shoulder of someone you know and whisper about the geese you would see early before your shifts,
Alight from the river under the bridge, taking off each morning at each exact moment of sunrise,
Waking up early and racing to meet them as the sun’s touch begins to lengthen upon the earth,
You sprint to the edge of the water and salute as you see them off, off to another day of harassing pedestrians,
They point out constellations you will miraculously remember come the morning, in a realized shout of the new day,
Your mouths dry from speech and song, a glow unfolds beneath the pavement and you start to smile at nothing,
Natalie Wollenzien graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 with a Bachelors in English and Creative Writing. She works at Sarabande Books as the publishing assistant, and is running the Zine Lunch! series presented by Sarabande Writing Labs. She writes fiction and poetry.