Too Late

by Billy Howell-Sinnard
The Waters
Honorable Mention, November 2018
Judged by Jeanette Beebe

When I came down from the mountain,
I saw you with him. Everything I touched
broke. It was cold up there. I was alone,
except for other lonely men in knotty
pine bunks a few feet apart. Everyone
held their tongue. The stars so close
the light almost unbearable as if the beams
were thorns digging into tiny, delicate bones.
The coffee was never hot enough. We took
turns cooking. Eggs. Bacon. Potatoes.
The man who thought he was a preacher
read verses aloud from the Bible, got drunk
every night, smelled of aftershave. Piles
of chopped wood surrounded the camp
like barricades around a fort. Our only heat
a small wood burning stove in the center
of the cabin. Early to bed, up before sunrise,
ghosts feeling around through the fog of our
bodiless breaths. I came down from the
mountain early, with a fear, caught a ride.