the first date

Kayla Slack

you ask me to take you to forever 
yet look surprised  
when i take you to a graveyard 

“i expected a sunset,” you say 
“there’s the perfect view 
from right here,” i reply 

fingers outstretched, 
the sun on the horizon 
as the moon readies herself 

for another nightshift, 
“keeping them company 
is my forever,” i say 

and you ask, “who?” 
i look around, see 
the wilting flowers 

laying on graves, 
spirits of young children 
playing around their markers 

giggling now, forever, 
the way they should’ve 
when they were alive 

i see the tree, remembering 
all the stories i’ve told 
and heard when i would 

sleep on the branches, 
hug its trunk, whisper 
“thank you” for keeping 

everyone company when 
i cannot be around, 
this tree will outlive me 

but i will always return here, 
watching, singing with the moon 
and waving to lonely spirits 

Spring 2021