The Poet Searches for a Quiet Place to Cry on Graduation Day and Finds No Public Beaches

Songbird, tiniest crab 
on my fingertip, tussled 
and tossed and flip-belly 
horseshoe. At the periphery 
of the golf course, a blue 
butterfly dips in and out 
of cattails. She burns 
borders tender, 
moves clear through: 
dusting everything, trailing 
life. She slurps everyone up. 
Soft body against the sea
-rusted private property 
sign, the men in cargos 
riding plastic white 
cars on the greens, 
wielding metal rods. 
The armored check point 
I mean entry gate, angry red 
stop sign, cop pacing 
this stretch of sand
back and forth, back 
and forth, smiling 
at the bodies of animals 
in linen on lounge chairs 
who paid good money 
to be here, laminated 
flags on each car. 
Last week, I’m told 
Bradley Cooper ran 
these backroads shirtless. 
Oh, aching world. All I want 
to do is touch you, for everyone 
to touch you equally, equitably. 
Rising tide-bodies, shore 
covered in coins: pink 
and yellow iridescents, 
deflated balloon heads tongued 
by each communal wave: 
congrats, grad! and one bright 
nylon star come down 
from the heavens to glint 
among human feet, burning 
on this land.

Zoë Fay-Stindt (she/Z/they) is a queer, bicontinental poet with roots in both the French and American south. Their poetry has appeared in museum galleries, on the radio, on the streets of small towns, in community farm newsletters, and other strange and wonderful places. Z’s work has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and has been featured or is forthcoming in RHINO, Muzzle, VIDA, Southeast Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. She lives in Ames, Iowa, where she is an MFA candidate at Iowa State University and co-managing editor for the environmental writing journal, Flyway.