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.