Cement Beach House 

We rent a cottage
with huge raku beetles
on the screen door.
Two beds and a bath.
The sound of roaches
patrolling the tiles.

We sit in the sand,
draining wine to the darkness
that pours black panic.
I hear in the waves.
You, complacent tide-watcher,
concede to leave.

Back inside,
I kill the roaches
with my beach shoes,
a job you say
suits me well.
In the morning,
I scrub their guts
off my soles.
I get sand on the floor.
I use too many towels.
Raised voices. Tense silence.
Your rabbit bites my ankle.

Today this time is less real
than the bubbles merman make
with the terrible fanfare
of their underwater trombones.
Those bubbles that rise from the sea
releasing the music no one ever hears.

— Jennifer Burnau

Jennifer Burnau has an MA in musicology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her work appears in Voices from the Attic vols. XIII and XVIII. She teaches in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She lives in Bloomfield.


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