Afterimage by William Kelley Woolfitt

The sun clambers over the husk
of the button factory, brushes
the tarp-roof of our fishing shack.
We burrow under pillows,
mimic stones, sink from light,
like the pink muckets who bedded
in river-cobble until the factory
forked them up, cut their shells
into round button-blanks. Later,
the factory was shut: too much
button-polish soured the water,
softened the mucket-shells
to puce jelly. Spilling in, scalding
our shack, the sun dampens hair,
flushes skin, poultices our bodies
with sticky heat until we pull on
dungarees, slip outside. We boil
horsemint tea, eat bruised apples,
try to net spooneys, flatheads,
relic-fish with no bones, no teeth.
Mile-a-minute vines shallow
the factory, whose afterimage
sheens on the river, ghost-picture
that lingers until a barge glugs by,
churns the water to tatters.

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