Beginning with the Fear of Drowning
Amelia Island, Florida

To the left and right of the balcony, parts of each wing
at the Ritz are getting work done: cream-colored sheaths
shroud the scaffolding, eight floors high, the height

the worker fell from nearly four months ago
at Binghamton University, and among brash Spanish,
the cascading grind of drills, echoing trill of pipes

from hammers, the ocean lends its false calm
through the din, the perfect-lined horizon in the distance.
Somewhere, in some ballroom below, you're listening

to the keynote speakers and doctors at the conference go on
about their findings, starting first with the list of stroke signs.
What I know is sometimes half the body loses gravity

and the mouth becomes clay. Your Mayo Clinic flash drive,
left on the white sheets, tells us more than these words can
about depression cures, muscle therapy, confidence

for entering the real world again. A few days ago a student
at Rutgers committed suicide after his roommate recorded him
fucking another man. It's awful to put it like that, I know,

but it's easier to dispel love as something grown into,
like memory, the ease in which it leaves and returns
at the sound of a lover's voice after too many years apart.

It's why I can't deny the Why? to having children now,
the too much they see too young, unable to grow
without living headlined realities unknowingly

before flailing awkwardly into the Hudson
below the George Washington Bridge, nothing ever presented
to change their mind. Yesterday we were warned

from a cab driver about love bugs: that their swarming
and acidity destroys a car's black paint in two days. Against
the white walls I see them now—bulbous orange

drops behind their heads—coupling, fluttering awkwardly
before they land. I swat a pair against the wall to the right—
antennae halted, bodies limp and separated, one inch

from each other. Now, looking out beyond the snow cone-blue
umbrellas lining the beach, I wonder if the end of Interiors
could truly happen: a forecasting, destined walk into ocean,

the rip current taking her, if she thrashed, coughed,
too devoid of human thoughts for the mouth to fight back
through speech, the garbled rasp of her last fighting breath.

Keith Montesano is the author of the poetry collection Ghost Lights (Dream Horse Press, 2010). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, American Literary Review, Third Coast, Blackbird, Crab Orchard Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. He currently lives with his wife in New York, where he is a PhD Candidate in English and Creative Writing at Binghamton University. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761