poem09 Jan 2022 06:12 pm
Summer Night by the Beach by Edvard Munch, 1903

Sarah Shirley

Moonburn happens on very clear nights
to the pale swimmers venturing out, their
skin bare to the air and the water. 

They call to each other in trills and gargling
fluting sounds as they crawl over 
the rubble that is left when cities fall.

Their milky skin sings at the touch of
reflected radiance, tapping into an ancestral 
memory of a time when we strode out

into the brightest days, when we stood beneath
the orange sun and bathed in heat and light.
Long ago there was a sandy beach here,

but now our children, skin bleached
by the years spent trembling in the 
shadows of the fallout shelters, creep out

into the moonlight-silvered city, and lay
their pale bodies down to rest in the dark
at the water’s lapping edge.

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