Craters of the Moon National Park

A poem by Natasha Rao

December 23, 2023

Once again I found myself at the cusp
of everything I wanted. The two of us
pointing at lizards behind glass, Gila monster
flashing its blue belly. All it would take
was a few deliberate words. But each time
you looked at me, I could only blink
into my wrists. When you spoke of love
at the shuffleboard table, I should have
put down my drink and said it. All night
we slid disks through sand. Waking
the next morning, we jumped at the sound
of the unfamiliar insect, like a firecracker,
you said, or those small white pellets
children fling on asphalt. The crater we hiked
is small compared to the one you left.
As a girl, I coveted those powder-filled
pouches of tissue paper. How for once
it was effortless to make something happen
in the dark, turning nothing into noise.