Before Students and Broken Cars
May 4, 2012
Remember whipping ketchup packets at each other from the drive thru window
and shouting, “I don’t want no ketchup, George” in spite of customers?
Getting fired from McDonald’s for quoting Of Mice and Men too loudly
didn’t make our English teachers laugh as hard as we did.
Remember how it was when we had nothing
and lived in a dirty slanted apartment on Scott Street?
Remember the abandoned and broken couch we rescued?
The thick Ramon scent that Febreze could not tame
and the deep mystery stains on the middle cushion we could not remove?
Remember wishing we were older until we were?
I bought the stick. You peed on it and waited until it turned blue.
I convinced you we have a future
and that life didn’t end with a baby.
Remember what we talked about before students and broken cars? Before life
hardened and took us with it?
If you happen to get in trouble like you’ve done before,
I want you to come right here no matter where I am.
Waiting for Father’s Day
April 3, 2011
The raindrops rippled on the edge of the deck
as I stood outside of the screen door of my father’s house.
My sister and brother waited in my crappy red convertible
on the darkening pavement staying dry.
I knocked twice. He wasn’t home.
Silence cut through the rain.
I jogged back to my car. Drenched.
I wrung out my gray sweatshirt
before taking my place behind the wheel.
The keys in the ignition lay silent.
I leaned my seat back and stared at the ceiling.
A minute passed, and another minute.
They felt like hours in my soggy socks and shoes
as they lightly rested on the peddles.
The silence came into the car.
It crept in from outside.
The snapping noise of Megan’s seat belt snapped me back to life.
The cool worn leather of the steering wheel seemed to pulse
under my hands as I gripped harder. Finally tired
of waiting I smashed the palm of my hand into the horn.
A gnawing sound bleated from the car, harsh, brittle,
and telling of the car’s age.
The lights of the house finally flipped on
as he came out of the night and waited by the door.
We reluctantly spilled out of the car
and shuffled to the house with our gifts,
the wrapping paper growing damp with every soggy step.
As if Nothing Had Happened
April 3, 2011
The gnawing sound did not alarm Lennie
until he felt the prick
of the mouse’s teeth sink into his hand.
He instinctively squeezed.
The snapping noise echoed in his ears
as he reluctantly pried open his his fist.
He stroked its sleek, greasy gray head
as if he were denying it had ever happened.
Silence fell as he delicately placed the freshly crushed
mouse in his left pocket,
picked up some sticks,
and headed back to camp.
The sound of his heavy footsteps died away
as he came out of the night and into the clearing
and rejoined his friend,
as if nothing had happened.