like his hair the night curling around us

receding from the question

                                         he has outdriven

even sunset to get this far from home. here

it’s june. we hurtle deeper into the sierras.

in dark

             all directions are deeper. we sink

toward the sky.

                          sawtoothed ridges gut the clouds
          and make an odd jagged ribbon above
the chaparral.

something here forgets itself, recovers.

i deserve to believe in something

                                        when i say mother

for the first time since inconclusive. we’re

veering right past a minor lake that glimmers

when he answers and maybe has a name.

                                 a shade can live in hades

which hardly has a name. it’s not your heart

i look back for, color or penumbra, half god

wandered off, the surface moonlight


Cover Art by Sarah Hussein

Note: This poem was the winner of the 2019 Blood Orange Review Contest, as selected by Jericho Brown.

Benjamin Bartu

Benjamin Bartu studies Human Rights, Gender, & Public Policy at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. His writing has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Mekong Review, The Albion Review, The Esthetic Apostle, Cathexis Northwest Press, and elsewhere. He is an associate editor at Palette Poetry.

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