Every summer they drain the reservoir and I am always astonished to find so many shopping carts in its sloping crater. And I wonder by what human endeavor they were brought out here, far from the supermarket, far from anywhere a shopping cart would be useful, like a herd of deer in want of water.

It was that time of year again and I set out to see what the lake had collected, trying not to acknowledge the part of myself that hopes for a body or a knife in the silt.

At the bottom of the pit sits a burgundy sofa in the caking dirt, some debris and lakeweed clinging to its fabric. A matching love seat is perpendicular to the sofa’s end. A stack of warped magazines are atop a coffee table. A small puddle gathers beneath a busted television, marking the low point of the lake bed.

Two kids are down there roaming around. One bursts some ketchup packets over his heart, staining his shirt. He throws himself back onto the sofa, closing his eyes as he falls, his head knocking over a lampstand. The other kid takes a picture of this but laughter unsteadies the camera and the photo turns out to be just a wash of sunlight.

—Brandon Kreitler

Rights & Access

“Dress Rehearsal” from Late Frontier by Brandon Kreitler, 2017.

Reprinted with permission of author and Poetry Society of America.

  • Brandon Kreitler

    Brandon Kreitler is the author of Late Frontier (2017), selected by Major Jackson for the Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship. He lives in New York City and edits Practice Catalogue.