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Eventually the Children Close Their Eyes


Matthew Zingg

As summer wore on, you became

   less of a ghost.

Your skin tanned to meet

   the shade of heat-struck grass.

   The smell of citronella braided your hair.

Every day at the pool, you

   with goggles and snorkel,

hid underwater and watched

   the weightlessness of older girls

   in bikinis, their legs

like pale mangrove roots, clean shaven.

   (They would have forgiven you then.)

Submerged, there was no sound

but what you chose to hear.

A hot slab of concrete was the sunlit bed

   that caught the wet print of your shadow.

   And it amazed you

how your shape evaporated and shrunk back

   into the air.

At night, when your mother called you home,

her voice seemed like something

   bottomless and dark

the way it spread from the pine trees.

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Issue 21


September 22, 2017

Matthew Zingg's work has appeared in The Paris-American, The Rumpus, Muzzle, Birdfeast, Cider Press Review, The Madison Review, The Awl and The Atlas Review among others. Zingg is the winner of Baltimore City Paper's 15th annual short fiction prize. Currently he lives in Baltimore where he hosts the on-and-off-again Federal Dust Reading Series.

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Issue 21

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the archives.
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