Under the linden, a weatherworn
bench. Eleven wooden slats in all
to build a simple thing for sitting.
The one still generating green,
shawled in August sunlight,
hovers over the one chainsawed
and hauled to the lumberyard.
Each time it was split, sawdust leapt.
The bench was built. Years passed
and now a pair of students sit together.
One has something impossible to say
without hurting the other.
Hunched, bent from the burden of it,
while the sun continues to
spangle the linden, green flame
after green flame, their faces dappled
in leaf-shadow. He knows he must
confess, how to hammer the sentences
with enough nails spiking out
from compressed lips. It will be over
soon, his hesitation marked by
how red the stripes behind her thighs.