Poem: Caitlyn Curran

Illo for Caitlyn Curran's poem.

Small Town Sestina

By fourteen, I was always walking out
the door late, Mom calling after, where
are you going? Riding in cars with boys?
— Yes,
Ma. Driving the dark roads toward night,
sleeping on Ronnie’s basement floor
drunk and skipping first period again.
I get out of Saturday school (again and again).
Mom doesn’t worry, says worry’s a sin. So I’m out
in the riverbank, toes sunk in the cold sand floor.
The cops come and we hide in the bushes (where
Lester and I first held hands). That night
they pour out every beer and let us go. Yes,
they let us all drive home. (We had yes
etched in our throats, a chant against
the lull of every dead stoplight night.)
Stealing beer from the AMPM, kissing Lester out
front of the trashed Motel 6 room where
Zack breaks the mirror, leaves blood on the floor.
There’s a hole in every wall from the floor
up at home (and most doors, too). Yes,
it’s easy to walk out and go, but where?
So Erin and I shoplift at Walmart again:
backpacks full. It’s not an in-and-out
job. We can stay here all night.
Jordan’s out on bail (went in the next week) but tonight
I have most of his stash bagged up on the floor
of my Civic, stuffed in a Colgate box. I run out
quick. In the Albertson’s parking lot his eyes
light up when I hand him the cash, so I re-up again.
He’s got money now for his books in County (where
he’ll be for a few years). Same parking lot where
a stranger buys us a handle of vodka (that night
that Lester dies over and over again
in that truck he’s in). Always, it floors
and flips four times. I don’t close my eyes.
Every time, I run and find him thrown out
lying between the tire and the quiet root floor
(and I do understand this wasn’t a way to live, yes—)
of the tree (when all sound drained out).
Caitlyn Curran is a second-year MFA candidate and English instructor at the University of Idaho. She serves as the current Marketing Editor for the literary journal Fugue. Her recent work can be found in: The American Journal of Poetry, Hubbub, Miramar, Raleigh Review, Spectrum, Silk Road Review, and elsewhere. She is a 2018 Centrum Fellow at the Port Townsend Writers Conference.

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