Tommy D'Addario earned his MFA at the University of Montana. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Columbia Journal, Southern Indiana Review, and Western Humanities Review, among others. He teaches for the Missoula Writing Collaborative, a nonprofit organization devoted to empowering children with critical thinking, cultural awareness, and artistic joy through creative writing. He also holds a Lilly Graduate Fellowship.
Some Substitutions in Gladwin, Michigan
No Sunday morning passed without rain those summers. Oat squares in
milk. Mud in the culverts. Pages of hymnals swelled in humid pews, drew
my nose to the musk of their turning. The color leached miserably from
stained glass darkened by storm. It’s a fault how easily I fall in love; blame
those sleepy Sundays. Those soaring, organ-throated melodies channeled
off-key. Wild turkey crossing roads on the drive home. Scrolls of bark
peeling away from white birch in the rain. I pressed pencil to those slates,
gave secrets, and let them unfurl to conceal. Something to be buried,
cell by cell. A dog leaped from dock to river, clamped jaw on tennis ball,
dragged itself to shore with seaweed clinging flankwise. It was no one’s
fault, your changing, my changing. Back then, our all-too permeable
membranes swapped thought, desire. I wanted to tangle in the arms of the
willow; you were impatient to grow up. Neither desire should be wrong.
Our arms, braille in the shadows of clouds. Wet bathing suits plastered hips.
I want the forest across the road to stretch indefinitely, where the echoes of
motors on water can be lost. Those two boys are gone and the known world
reveals itself like a dog at the fence, as if nothing matters but the ruckus as
someone walks by.