Aidan Forster

Winner of the Louise Louis / Emily F. Bourne Student Award in 2016

Third Night

In Florida, it seems the sun stays out longer
than where I'm from. I have come here

to escape clay, brick. My father taught
the boy I am with to be less like his mother.

The boy buys me a virgin strawberry daiquiri.
We walk together on the beach. Feet in the cool sand,

the cling of fabric to skin, a sudden awareness
of distance— this is ritual. I make a worship

for the sand, pour my drink out. The waves
eat it and the thousand handkerchiefs

I have brought with me, confessed to them.
The boy runs through the waves, is eaten in various ways.

He runs back, slick with night water. I have tricked
myself into thinking he loves me. He loves

his mother, her bottles. Lord, we are young.
We pass couples folded into each other

and into the sand. The bastard pier comes into view.
We turn around, walk towards the hotel.

His mother is waiting in her driftwood
palace. I imagine she is drunk like the first two nights,

hair splayed over the couch like seaweed. My father
is not here to teach the boy. The boy is not here

to teach me to pray to the gods of this beach,
that moon, but he does anyway.

He is not like his mother. He is drunk
on things untouchable. In the end

we are dry, bone-white, blasted
into the night like newborn suns. 

line

Rebecca Gayle Howell on Aidan Forster

Here, a scene is set: a Florida night; a short-run stay; a short-lived love; a beach, its appearing, disappearing waves. Nothing unusual, nothing not said before. Except that this writer is a poet, and he knows "what has been will be again," that it is only by the singing of the song we are reborn. And this song is aware: through a quiet but tense sound work, a cricket-ricochet breath, this poem, which only pretends to be linear, risks a danger made only more dangerous by how common it is. The poet of Third Night reminds us we are all dry, bone-white, blasted—by love, we are all young and old at the same damned time.

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