The Return

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On the day she returned
the Tigers played Regionals two counties north
and Queequeg leapt hugely
out of his coffin.

Friday fourth period English
half-empty, unpopulated by cheerleaders,
band members, and now
forever the quarterback,

we coughed and tittered,
jittery with discussion of nothing: whiteness,
whaleness, whale innards,
and outwards

she looked in general
similar, only dark circles instead of eyeliner,
and she left only twice to cry
or else to be briefly

elsewhere. To be again
on a Friday afternoon looking forward
instead of back to those last
imperfect words

and the drive he made
buzzed and angry afterwards, backroad
at sixty curving earlier
than he’d expected.

To be again looking forward
to the coming evening, in the stands looking
past the bundled mothers, toward
the thrumming line

of scrimmage, toward
the single figure stepping back, and, as the ball
arcs absolutely downfield,
the visible breath.