Runner-Up of the Graybeal-Gowen prize

When Foamhenge Was Still Where It Was

Its purpose was to educate and entertain
the sign said on a foam stone at Foamhenge

where I enjoyed taking off all my clothes
while the weathered wizard watched

while the dandelions yellowly matured
while the Aral Sea still held some water

and there were two spelling bee winners
for the words stichomythia and feuilleton.

What’s it called when something is not
of its time? My anachronistic thighs

like mayonnaise on all the different greens
of the grass. Whomever I think my god is

was somewhere else but it was May
according to the grey shadows the foam

stones cast, like a bracelet of chipped teeth
laughing. I felt around for the truth,

which was actually easy to come by,
if hard to hold onto, like clouds.

Oh, and there were clouds! The meringue
of their wisdom levitating above all history…

All day it was history like that.
But this was before I loved you.

This was well before I even knew
you existed in the ridiculous world.

Chelsea Harlan is the author of Bright Shade, selected by Jericho Brown as the winner of the 2022 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize. She holds a BA from Bennington College and an MFA from Brooklyn College, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She lives in rural Appalachian Virginia, where she was born and raised, and where she works at a small public library.