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,
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.