Nathaniel Sverlow


we went to the park
though it was over
one-hundred degrees
and we sat on a bench
and drank our wine
from plastic bottles

the ground was alive
with ants
and they swarmed our feet
no matter where
we placed them

and the sky was filled
with gnat flies,
giant gnat flies
with wings like white flower petals
that would land
on your arm,
your shirt,
your neck,
and crawl around

and the other benches
were filled with bums:
one man stretched out,
a woman across from him,
muttering to herself,
and another man across from us,
painfully thin,
getting up and sitting down again,
and pacing back and forth

and the people
that cut through the park
on their way somewhere
would glance at us
then look away
as they did with the others
and they would walk very fast,
swatting at the open air
and all those gnats flies
settling upon their skin

I can hardly remember
what was said
between us
I don’t remember
the flavor of the wine either,
only that its warmth
felt like a thick blanket
under all that heat

I sweated,
swatted my arms
and neck,
the parts of me
I maintained eye contact
as you expected me to,
and I drank
until the bottle
was empty

and I can hardly remember
what was said
between us
only that it was hot
and you were stupid
and stubborn

and I wanted to leave