Quiet as a seed, and as guarded, our walking took the shape of two people uneasy together. I had the feeling that on the anxious incline of that hill we gave the hill a reason to be. What loneliness, what privacy was in that? Hey, I said. Race me to the top? Then is when I nearly tripped on the sly earth, an earth shaping to itself again. A stone? But, no, picking it up, bringing the wormed-through black flesh of it to my height, I knew it for an apple and gnashed and let the juices freak and down my face. Don’t ask me why I did it. I know. I know there are poisons like these we have to feed each other, promises we try to hold-- though how can they be contained? I wanted to give you what I could of me. To be personal, without confession. I wanted to believe in the constancy of that hill. Daylight was tiring. The air, secret, alone. I won, you said. You did, I said. So we stood there.
88 The Paris-American
Rickey Laurentiis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He's the recipient of fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and a Chancellor’s Fellowship from Washington University in St. Louis, where he received his MFA. The author of the e-chapbook, Whipped, (Floating Wolf Quarterly), he has been a featured poet in the March 2013 issue of T, the New York Times Style Magazine, and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in several journals, including Boston Review, Callaloo, Fence, jubilat, Oxford American and Poetry.