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A Boy Like Your Mother


ISSUE:  Fall 2006

Once I was flush so I drank until the walls grew vague.
A guy at the bar said, Who’s the boy?
and I touched your hair
and bought you another Coke while evening dropped over St. Louis
like a bird to its nest.
Last call, the girl said. Drink up.

*

So I found the car.
I thought we’d know America better, you and I,
and we drove the highways outside of the city.

When it rained the drops were hypodermics on my arm
and the night went on
like a handful of pills thrown against the sky.

*

I thought you’d get to know me, but you cried
then, finally, slept—

*

Who could talk to a boy like that, so stainless and asleep,
your mother home and cursing all night long—
Missouri and the boxcars
rattling past like strings of coffins,
and you beneath the radio’s green light,
curled on the seat—I thought I knew you—

*

You’ll miss me when I’m dead,

your old dad who took you out and bought you shoes.
The radio gone to country,
then to static,
and your even little breaths, mechanical and strange.

*

I was afraid to touch you,
afraid to wake you up,
as dawn cast the silos into distant silhouettes
and made them look like giants
stalking through the fields.

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