is an online magazine of the literary arts.

2 December 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 4

Our Last Evening, after Launching from the Bottom of the Hoover Dam

for John, David and Lee

We play cards to drink

quicker than we would on our own.

The dearler'd say "drop"

and we'd slap the single card,

sweat-stuck against our foreheads,

down on the Coleman cooler

we brought to keep ice ice

five full days.

Now, after two, it all

went to water

warm enough to fish through in darkness.

The four women sit back behind us,

slouched in their seats

along the river's night rise,

and having made a small circle, talk

about the talk of us men.

How decency doesn't matter

on vacation; how nakedness is still

a surprise like the man in the hot spring,

completely hairless,

tucking his uncircumcised penis

between his legs and waving

with a nod while we walked

through the pools of thigh high water;

how screwed those young couples

we saw lugging kids.

No matter what

when someone clears the cards,

lifts the beach-stained lid,

he pulls out two. We refuse to believe

the other is done

so we wait to the end

drinking and cheersing whatever happens.

Tomorrow's sun on the river

will bite like a bug

and what little life we have left

we will spend.

About the author:

Josh Rathkamp's first book of poems, Simple Impossibilities, wiil be published by Ausable Press in the fall of 2007. His work has recently been published or is forthcoming in Indiana Review, Meridian, Passages North, Sycamore Review, Puerto Del Sol and others. He teaches at Arizona State University.



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