My former student

Listen to the audio version.

In Germany, your sense of sound
would change.
Timing trees, wet with
wind, walk with Locusts. Beech sun,
wholesome as your sister's anxiety.
The sea urchins in Sardinia
can be eaten right from the foam.
Come here. I hear you hate
to say goodbye. Say, see you later

Say later, in Sardinia where German
is metal in your mouth & nostalgia
is trapped in tide pools &
foam's above your eye.

When I was ten and moved away,
I'd look a photograph of Newark Valley
to see Danny with
Down Syndrome—
crawfish in hands that clamped,
as if to say, we've forgot you entirely.
Later, we'll see you again.
Be there first time.
Pools in the shallows, shallows in pools.


Nathan Erwin is a Global Environmental Politics MA Candidate at American University studying food sovereignty, conservation, and indigenous rights. He was a Special Education teacher for six years in Arlington, Virginia. Erwin's writing engages with language poetry, environmental discourse, and place-based poetics. He studied literature and education at the State University of New York, Fredonia. Erwin's work is forthcoming in Redactions and The Oyster Boy Review.