Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 55
strawberry moon, 2024

Featured artwork, Lost for Words, by Andrea Damic

new works

Kerry Trautman

Seasons of Love (but Not Like the Kind from RENT)

1. Summer
This is how it will be for you: lips meeting, sweet as popsicle teeth in July heat. Night’s red cinders glowing up up, to give up charcoal sleet cold down to your shoulders. Your ice—so beautifully cold on tongues—will melt. Your lemonade will warm and attract a yellow jacket, paddling, desperate in your sweating glass till its wings give-out.

Some days I think and think on all the men who’ve pressed their bodies against me—those I wish didn’t, those I wish would. No one can ever touch you the way you touch yourself—thank god for that. Those days my clit is a Jack-in-the-Pulpit in June woods, pubic hair like sparse Spanish moss draping a Savannah live oak branch, the way in summertime I want night to be forever, sticky with bugs, heat lightning, sweat soaking through to the moon, sleeping with windows wide to black breeze, howling dogs, cats squabbling in shrubs.

2. Autumn
There is nobody to blame for all this beauty—of held hands down orchard paths, of held breath in stun of magenta maple leaves igniting blue October sky, of the apples you feed to each other’s mouths, crisp with the sugars of the year gone gone, nothing but an inhospitable core, an impasse to toss to browned grass.

Some days it seems everything sweet is in a constant state of drying-up—like the syrup ring stuck to the pantry shelf below the dripped-down Mrs. Butterworth bottle, like the Karo lid adhered since last Thanksgiving’s pecan pie. It was good, right? Everybody ate some? So then why don’t I remember savoring that last slice, and why don’t I make it more than once a year, and did that pie even know how much sweet I had to add to mask all those nuts and their bitter bitterness?

3. Winter
There was no way to prepare you for the freeze, not really. Yes quilts can cover your entwined bodies. Yes, a fire and whiskey, yes, but there will also be water pipes burst from inside by inevitable ice. Bake bread, yes, and light your candles. Brew coffee with fresh-ground beans sprinkled with cinnamon, and make a list of everything you want and want to change about your next-year’s life. Just know that none of it will warm you the way you need it to.

Some days all touch is hawthorn, black locust bark and nettles, and I want to wrap in velveteen, curl in un-reachable corners. Skin against my own makes my own feel less my own—as if telling a truth, as if telling a lie, remembering something you didn’t know you tried to forget, as if a crime, a test, or cracking through a frozen pond under dark water numb-ing cold. These days I am a winter house, isolated in bleak midnight sleet, vulnerable to everything franticly trying to frost-heave its foundation.

4. Spring
You’ll do it all again because of all those unfurling lilies, and the way the Red-winged Blackbird always returns to the cattails along the creek, and you smile because you’d forgotten that song is a true thing, that wings carry bodies far away but also back to you. Look at all those tadpoles waking the creek to their wishes for legs. Look at all those pollens, dusting the breeze in hope for more and more.

Some days I remember to breathe in the grateful way May luxuriates in her gratuitous gown like a gymnasium full of dancing teenage girls frothy with lace and tulle and hairsprayed ringlets and silk charmeuse dyed all colored like rainbow sherbet. How hard is it, really, to lie in your wide bed while drapes flap in breeze, to listen to a meadowlark sing praise from the rooftop or spruce-top, to wish those teenagers will keep dancing, dancing, their bodies magnetized, powerful, powerless.

Kerry Trautman writes: My work has appeared in various anthologies and journals. My poetry books are "Things That Come in Boxes" (King Craft Press 2012,) "To Have Hoped" (Finishing Line Press 2015,) "Artifacts" (NightBallet Press 2017,) "To Be Nonchalantly Alive" (Kelsay Books 2020,) "Marilyn: Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas" (Gutter Snob Books 2022,) and "Unknowable Things" (Roadside Press 2023.) My most recent book is a novella, "Irregulars" (Stanchion Books 2023.)