Writing Catalog

Casper Dunn-Helton

Grade: 10

Cleveland School of the Arts

Instructor: Cari Thornton




The evening breeze empties itself into the lap of the bench. Calm yourselves, now, calm. Sands from cold New York waters hang in the air. Shh, you don't have to work so hard. Stars have just fallen above the horizon, all wanting a bed, all tired of the show. And here the bench sits. No one bothered to give him a friend on this measly patch of sand. Only the shade of a scrawny tree to console him. I'm here. Unaware of the town behind. The lighthouse and its outstretched arms. The people and their summer homes. Gentle air dumps sand in his slats. I'm here. No one crosses the streets now, in the still, frigid spring. I'm here. This small town is dead. Main street — no bigger than a grain of sand, and only housing Air BnBs and broken down homes — is empty. Save for a single car, headlights like dying stars reaching for a shadow to hold to. (they are going home.) The wind breathes, sighs. No, no, they are going home-for-now. (home-for-now?) Home-for-now. The night is quickly fading, and the bench drifts off to restless, sand coated sleep. Shh, sleep, I am here. The wind picks up on life. Hush. Listen, do you hear? You are not alone. The voice of constellations and unfinished love: We are here, if only-for-now. (...)

(isn't it nice. the way the wind breathes.) I'm here. (a comfort. almost. putting me to sleep. how did i get here? here where the waters lap onto the shore with no remorse. no drama. no ecstasy. just a muddle. muddy-mettled puddle. murky like the sky of sleepy stars.) Rest, now, rest. (and they think they can fix it? isn't it nice. to be wanted. in the summer. but now. cold spring has fallen upon us. the town they don't think i know about is empty. i know. people and their summer homes. come crashing through when the sun breathes hot. smelling of seasalt and something more bitter than that. look at me. tell me how cute.) Look, look how special. New York is such a charm. (isn't it nice. when the conversation carries. their words light up under lighthouse searchlights.) We could have been there already. (where?) Among the stars. (you mean the headlights. leave in a rustle of windblown frowns to make their way to mechanical winds and rivers like high heeled boots i feel in every inch of my slats. but now it's spring. i'm lonely and the wind thinks they can fix me.) I'm here. (please try. maybe i'll stay fixed this time. the wind breathes, sighs.) Only-for-now. (my pain is not only-for-now. my home is not home-for-now. i will not be kept. i want to breathe. i want to breathe like a train made of wind. i want to breathe like mountain fog parting crepuscular rays in the early morning. i want to breathe like a spring has blossomed over the lake and each ripple follows in my wake to create a glaucous seraph. i want to breathe like i matter. like i'm more than just a sleepy bench hiding under bare trees pretending like i'm listening to the wind's friends speak about constellations and unfinished love. when i'm romanticizing. dreaming about the day my broken down slats are not only-for-now. but something-you-care-about. isn't that nice.) …

The wind breathes, sighs.
Stars rise below the horizon.
The beach prepares for the fall of sun.
Sands settle back into place.
I cared.
Shadows fade.
I care.
Sun beams.
*I have loved you for too many springs to count… * Summer heat takes over the wind.
Stillness again.
(leave me here)
Spring is no more.
And we are here.
If only-for-now.

(leave me here)
(with these people)
(and the poem you never finished)
If only-for-now.
Spring is a mere constellation.
Orion's dreams.
And the bench awaiting salvation.
I am coming back.
If only-in-time.
(if only-in-time?)
If only-in-time.
You are not alone.
(i am not alone?)
You are not alone.
And the bench sleeps.
Awaiting the return of windy spring.
If only-in-time.