Released into the Blue

KB Ballentine

Late August, pears nod from branches
     thick and full. The river licks its banks,
          frogs deep–throating the reeds.
     Upstream, two girls squeal on a trestle,
swimsuits dry as they peek over the edge.


 Reclining under leafy shadows
I witness the courtship song of summer —
               boys circling midstream, urging
     the girls to join them, vouching for the depth,
          the warmth of the current.
Their vigil rewarded, the blonde tucks her elbows
               and leaps away from the pilings.

          Droplets crystal, scatter, and fracture.
The boys whoop as she emerges, vision fogged.
     Mia, come on, she calls the mute statue
          still gripping wooden planks.

     The air ripples with sound.
          Fear sparks the sunburned face —
visions of a train as unimaginable as quarks to a Neanderthal.
               Hectoring crows flap the tree line,
     ragweed dusting the river,
          and the trestle groans and grumbles.
The girl arcs over the water, reflection rising to catch her.


KB Ballentine has a M.A. in Writing and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her latest collection, The Perfume of Leaving, was awarded the 2016 Blue Light Press Book Award. Her work also appears in River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015), Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011).