Sad Sound
Shannon Sankey
  Today, at the cemetery,
  I did some light math, as you do.

  I wished for a hill, for a stand
  of old-growth trees. For Pittsburgh, always.

  My lunch break was waning.
  I was minding my own business,
  wondering about my life.

  Then, I felt a tug on the hook I keep
  at the corner of my mouth.

  It’s easy to forget it’s there.

  I have plenty of projects.
  I am in love and embarrassed
  by my happinesses.

  There is a security guard in Kansas.
  I loved him before I loved anyone,
  which means nothing.

  The tug on the hook
  lets me know he is living
  and waking now.

  We were only friends,
  and then old friends,
  and never any good at it.

  I am lucky to be
  so wistful so young.

  It is what makes music
  and other kinds of wind
  delicious.

  We keep to ourselves,
  the fishing line taut between us, wound
  around each light pole we pass,

  the fishing line sometimes lifting
  a lock of our lovers’ hair
  in the early morning,

  sometimes falling soft
  in lacy knots at our feet,

  then, reeling out and out
  as I do hungry laps around
  the earth and him.

  I am glad for my life
  and the fishing line.

  I pluck it every few years.
  It makes a sad sound.

  
Shannon Sankey's poems and essays have appeared in the Academy of American Poets, Visible Poetry Project, SWWIM, Rogue Agent, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, The Weeklings, Atticus Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2017 Academy of American Poets University & College Prize. She holds an MFA from Chatham University, where she was the Whitford Fellow. She is the founder of Stranded Oak Press. www.shannonsankey.com