Issue Three:

Ryan Drendel

WINTER 2020/21

Poetry

Night Shift

                     …uses your device’s clock and location to determine when the sun sets. Then it adjusts              the color of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum—making it easier on your eyes.

 

 

We idle the Del Sol into California,

Missouri, to stare at the sun. As I unfold

 

my cardboard glasses, your elbow straightens

your phone between us and the sky,

 

and we smile with all of our impatient teeth.

Outside the frame of this selfie, our palms weld

 

against one another, hovering a half inch

from the hot paint of your passenger door.

 

As the moon rolls over the sun,

the cicadas surprise us for the second time

 

in seventeen years. We watch

the Venn Diagram above us turn

 

into a dilated pupil, while the hands we don’t hold

peel the cardboard filters from our faces—

 

and for two minutes, we understand

why our eyes are not cameras.

 

We try not to try and memorize

this panoramic sunset. 

Weather/ FaceTime

To delete a city from your weather app, swipe left, then tap Delete.

 

 

Today the rain forgot how to splash.

You watch it supercool and icicle

 

down the powerlines—gravity sagging

their electric grins—while I watch

 

the windshield of my redeye glaze

over, delayed. You ask me whether

 

I noticed the sun misplacing itself

inside the bookshelf of clouds

 

now scraping this satellite beam,

like frost, across the glass panels

 

that frame Chicago’s stalagmite skyline—

and I answer, I’m sorry. Siri promised

 

the sun wouldn’t set for another hour.

I apologize to the thirty-six pixels

 

pretending to be your left ear, until

your finger flicks the camera around

 

to face your bedroom window screen,

to stream its attempts at filtering the rain.

 

I squint as the squares in its grid

freeze into a mosaic mirror, and you

 

ask my reflection whether I can see

those ice-capsuled, pine-needle trees—

 

whether it’s easier for me to picture

my bare ankles shuffling to O’Hare

 

between such inclement sculptures, or back

into your warm apartment in the suburbs.

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Ryan Drendel is an MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University, where he edits Thin Air Magazine and co-hosts the Cinder Skies Reading Series. His work can be found in Big Muddy, Scribendi, and The Rectangle. You can find him on Twitter (@RyanDrendel) and Instagram (@Ryan.Drendel).

QUINCE magazine