Elegy Apologizing in Hindsight I hear: July will bring the second coming, monsoon season, and a stock market crash. Each light on the water tower will blink and then strobe. A cougar will sleep under my trampoline for weeks. Dogs will break into every antique shop and devour fine china. From there the moon will roll across a cliff and crush the nearest mobile home. Today they are dredging my best friend’s body from the lake. She is wrapped in pink tarp and identifiable by her ponytail. The edges of each day are ochre and pulling up at the corners like linoleum. Occasionally when I take a shower, there is vomit already in the bathtub. I should not be here, not like this. Three weeks ago we were kneeling at the gulf of a psych ward, with my hands pressing a Ziploc to her nose and mouth in lieu of a paper bag. In hindsight, I am not even an effective attempt at a solution. A threat is still a threat when you pretend it’s benign. Sorrow is still sorrow with my headphones in. Her grief was still grief when I avoided it. In the future, I hope to be unafraid of asking questions. Her parents will join a nunnery. The lake will drain through a metal slit in the earth. Her old things will appear on every subway in the world. In hindsight, I will look for the cliff crumbs in the cuffs of her jeans. In hindsight, I will call the hospital and tell them her name.
Heather Laurel Jensen is a freshman at the University of Arizona. She served as National Student Poet of the Southwest in 2018 and is currently co-president of Creative Youth of Arizona, an organization that administers the Phoenix Youth Poet Laureate program and develops creative opportunities for young Arizonans. Her poetry, short stories, and photography have been published by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, diode poetry journal, and the Live Poets Society of New Jersey, among others.