by Colette LaBouff Atkinson

We ate, maybe.  We might have seen a movie.  Later, there was a Southern
California warm breeze we’d grown up with coming through.  He showed
me a photograph of him eating flapjacks in Santa pajamas.  I slept hard into
white sunlight.  When I woke, I didn’t know what to do.  Picked up my clothes.
Knocked the foot of the bed.  Told him I’d call him.  Or asked him to call.  I was
beginning , then, to get ahead.  As if it had been a race.  I took the keys and drove
out of the city founded as a temperance colony where, later, there was a goldfish
farm and then a mall built over that.  Perfect streets.  Perfect like someone else.
I drove as fast as I could.  I could feel it, too: drive-in, farmland, aircraft, sugar
beets, goldfish, a film of myself.  My past behind me.  A blur on the best morning.
Drive fast.  Be steadfast.  Use it wisely.  Feel the earth beneath.  Wood pulp.
Don’t return calls.  Don’t go back.  Get drunk.  Don’t get undressed.  Be sweet.
Apologize.  If you need demolition, use it.  Skilled powdermen don’t die.  At the
end of the workday, the best are bone-tired.

-from Mean (Phoenix Poets)