In the last hour of evening light the sky has flipped over to publish her pink belly. Vulnerability always leads to darkness. The sailboats, stagnant at the lake, are destined to stay empty until tomorrow, no rhythmic sway can get persons on the water at this hour. The reflection of the masts fizzle out before elbowing shore. One last boat pulls into the launch with ghastly fluorescents blasting over the liquid magenta. The family hops onto the dock to hook the boat to the hitch, let the color drip back into her body. The sailboats pendulum from the anchors. A girl from the boat chases after her mutt and walks bent over through the sand once she has him around the collar. This is the time, the dog thought, to run. One last chance to be free before everything soft and welcoming slides off the earth. But those sailboats will be here tomorrow. When dusk spreads, those boats will still shiver in the water. Come tomorrow they’ll once again ask themselves if the world is more than a place for trembling when others are near.
-- John Muellner (he/him) is an LGBT writer from St. Paul, MN. His work can be read in Denver Quarterly, New Delta Review, Emerson Review, Harpur Palate and elsewhere. He’s currently a Departmental Poetry Fellow in NYU’s MFA program.