Julianna McCarthy

Lake Helene

Let me tell you about the dance band
at the shore, summer nights when I was just
old enough to feel the heartache in a trumpet solo,
the plea in a smoky saxophone riff.
Young girl lonely I would swim
out beyond the drop-off to lie on the raft,
wavelets lapping against planks still
warm under my back, to listen
to the baritone crooning, “Always”
and longing, longing to keep it all; keep
the night, keep the music, keep the band from going home.

Julianna McCarthy lives above the snow line in Southern California’s Los Padres Forest with two cats and a dog. She holds an MFA from New England College and her work has been published in the Antioch Review, Alehouse, 51%, Spot Literary Magazine and Boxcar Poetry Review among others.