Nov 30


By Bob Sykora

This is the utopia

where I kissed you

on that pier
on the lake
in the dark.

What’s a pier even for

if not for kissing?

Would this all be different

if we had kissed?

Would we wake up


The headlines all celebrate the end
of our calamity. They’re serving victory

blueberries on every street corner.
The mouths and hands of every child

are blue. All our attempts to topple
the assholes up top failed,

but they fell over anyways.
And it rained money for days,

but we didn’t need money anymore.
There were just so many blueberries.

And when we kissed, we’d share
all our blues. And when we held hands

or hugged or high fived anyone,
we passed it on. And in this great blue

mess, somehow, we all knew each other.
Every hand, every smile was blue.

Everyone must have hugged or kissed or held
someone we knew. The sky in comparison

was so soft and light and barely—
but our hands, our faces, our teeth,

stains in our clothes, the whole street
just smothered in blueberry. The leftovers

piled up on the corner. We’re building mountains
from the blue mush. We’re shoveling it all

in the back of pickup trucks, dumping it
into the ocean, where way out

over the water we watch the blue glow
of dragonflies hovering over busy waves

under a yellow moon as it sinks,
where way down at the bottom

all our leftover blues begin to feed
the coral reefs, hungry as hell until they’re renewed

with an electric blue sparkling, and the water
shimmers on and off, so alive,

so powerful, the tides turn suddenly
and crack as they smack against the pier

and it’s all because I kissed you

on the pier on the lake in January
when it was dark and cold
and I was scared.

And you could almost see the whole universe

out there in the dark nothing above the water.

The whole universe was dark and cold and scared,

and I kissed you anyways.



Bob Sykora is the author of the chapbook I Was Talking About Love–You Are Talking About Geography (Nostrovia! 2016). A graduate of the UMass Boston MFA program, he teaches at community college, serves as Editor-in-Chief for Vagabond City Lit, and co-hosts The Line Break podcast. He can be found online at and @Bob_Sykora_.


Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor

Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine,, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at]