Heat lightning


the lights in the classroom go low. I am sure
the sound is on, but my thoughts
are warm and heavy like humid summer
evenings and he is sitting
next to me, tiny bursts of heat
lightning flickering across
the projector screen in front
of us. his hand edges toward
mine, breathe in breathe out

people say that what we call
heat lightning isn’t real. it’s just
a far-off storm but he turns and
asks me did you see that? did
the lights just flicker? and my heart
booms like a thunderclap I so
desperately wish we could hear

he leans toward me as if
he is going to say something but
doesn’t, just lingers there like
a stormcloud on a sunny day, like
lightning that keeps you waiting

because there is an uncrossable
distance between us. he is twenty-five
and I am sixteen so we just sit there, watching
the lightning leap from cloud to cloud, wondering
if there is a place for us somewhere
in the distance.


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