It’s the hottest day of the year.
She’s driving around with a trunk full of dill pickles
& a superbloom of botulism.
In line at the bank, she hugs me and says
guilt and fault go together;
she’s realized it just now
telling no one in particular with her arms around me python tight
testing the words for heat on her tongue;
we wait in line, endorsements & account numbers ready.
This is the woman who once, who more than once,
pitched an entire girls softball game drunk
pitches lobbed toward each preteen
slowly making contact with a leg
with a hand– take a base, take a base
run after run walked in.
In the stands we’re nursing Diet Cokes
on a morning already shimmering,
look, it’s playing out again,
flop sweat and sunburns, skin like brine.
Bio: Jill Bergantz Carley is a poet with Pushcart nominations and her first collection, ANIMAL VEGETABLE MINERAL, forthcoming from UnCollected Press in 2020. She’s the recipient of fellowships from The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Sundress Publications, and Mineral School. Her recent work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Tupelo Press, ENTROPY, Collective Unrest, trampset magazine, Back Patio Press, and elsewhere. She tweets @jillbergantz— say hi!