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Cistern

BY AIDAN FORSTER
 

Fine Arts Center, '18
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors' List

 

It is true I drank the river water
my grandfather offered me. Yes, we knelt

before the river’s mouth
and touched our lips to it. It is true

he is still living in his body
like it’s a wooden house. He says

I should hold a gun like an infant
but treat it like an animal. And yes,

we moved from shooting Coke cans
to shooting rocks, then small animals,

then large ones. It is true I once shot
rabbits, deer, watched him peel the flesh

from the glisten of their ribs. I took
nothing from their bodies—not skin, never

bone. And yes, I learn to think of him
as more than he is. It is true. Yes, his body

tried to become less of a body and more
of a cistern. I hold his living self

underneath my tongue. I have heard
his head grows like a great white gourd

from his neck. When the river dries up
I will take all the things I love

and smash them one by one.

 

 

Aidan Forster is a sophomore in high school. He studies creative writing at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina, where he is the managing editor of Crashtest and the blog editor of The Adroit Journal. His work has been nationally recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and will appear in the 2015 ART.WRITE.NOW.DC exhibit. He is the recipient of the 2015 Anthony Quinn Foundation Scholarship, and the winner of the 2015 Say What Open Mic Fresh Out the Oven Poetry Slam. His work appears or is forthcoming from Assaracus, Best Teen Writing of 2015, DIALOGIST, Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Verse, among others.