May 23, 2012

Youth Retreat

Written by Matt Sumpter

Read by Geoffrey Brock

We curled in the dark gymnasium corner, breath
making plumes of the dust. No one heard
our bodies pressing, sweating through our clothes.
Onstage, a man whispered into a microphone. Listen,
he said, for what is here. The Lord is with us.
A sparrow thrashed in the ductwork. An industrial fan
heaved against its frame.
We’d met on a rooftop
that morning, passing shingles out in long, black banners,
ten-penny nails dangling from our stern lips
like shrapnel. But as she reached inside my jeans
and my penis hardened across her palm, she stroked
me with the gentleness of prayer.
I heard my blood,
the gym lights flickered, heat impaled me like a spear.
Far from the love we were taught, ours was a half-gasp
and her voice. Don’t move. They’ll see us if we open our eyes.

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