February 2021 A (Day 1)

Prodigal

New Year’s Day is 80 degrees in Port Hueneme, California. The Prodigal Daughter pulls her Datsun B210 into the space her grandmother has reserved for her with a Cabbage Patch kid sitting in a kitchen chair. Grandma Carmen’s mobile home is the sweetest on her row....

The Ballad of Miss Nebraska

  Dropped out together. Professor said: sure? Professor said: beware. Professor said: jealous. Bought a van. Okay, mini-van. Gutted the bowels. Velcro daisy curtains. Fuck off Nebraska. Trajectory=find life. Be a writer. Be in love. Go west: Colorado. Go west:...

1979, This thing Called

1979, This Thing Called   Drive past where you grew up. This landscape is flat, flat, flat, flat, flat, flat, flat mud. Rows of trees line the road. Squat houses setback a short distance circling a railroad track, then nothing but more mud, distant trees and...

Tin Can

Rocky is stuck with the rest of them inside the Tin Can, their nickname for Grandma’s house because of its ugly siding and roof, because of the way they jam inside, because of the way it both preserves and ruins them, because it’s where they go in after failing out...

Ready, Set

Stop. Stop. Stop. Can’t stop. He might catch me, and…Hit! Hit! Hit! Keep moving moving moving. Maybe, allow for a breath. Legs all rubbery like Jell-0. Wobble stumble fall. Get up. Get up. Get up. I try. I fail. He slows. I breathe. He’s all cocksure. I breathe. He’s...

The Oracle of Keltwood Cove, ca. 1975

My neighbor told me first. No, that’s not exactly right. My daddy said the word first, but he wasn’t talking to me. He didn’t know my ears could hear. He didn’t know he told me, so I guess it didn’t count. My neighbor said it straight to my face, right there in the...

Decades

1960s Ford in driveway. Daddy an attorney. Mommy works too. Sister bounces me. Little gray house. Willow tree bends. Retriever on porch. Brass candlesticks gleam. Smell of cookies. Grandmother knits—clackety. I stay close. Radio in hand. I fear darkness.  

Nothing to be Done

    Brother Jim is fiddling change in his pocket. Clinkety-clink and over again. Stops sudden and embarrassed. Shifts himself back in his seat. Sister Beth took it hard, but not hardest. That would be Auntie Louise. Sun going back in its skypocket, just like...

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