V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





Tonight, I will love myself at sixteen when I desired
what I thought were the troubles of bad girls
in Iowa, pretending I smoked menthol cigarettes,

that my parents would divorce, that my father,
at least, worked the line at Firestone, took nothing
from the foreman but an occasional beer,

flipped the bird to management, and went out
damn proud when the Union said, Walk.
Friday nights, I stripped and searched the mirror

for Slavic bones, rib cage, pelvis, delicate
as a newly emerged atoll, trying to acquire
come-hither moves and the ropey voice that meant

devil in a blue dress to a bass guitar player
with silver ear clips. Saturdays, I lied like hell
to make off with my mother's Impala, speeding

for nearby soybean towns, scooping the loop in Ottumwa,
or Ames, parked in the shade of a grain elevator
where I learned lust for a dark green Camaro,

and each day after school I rode my bike across
the river, because the East Side was dangerous,
because crossing was bad, because I knew the rules,
and wanted every dark thing to be green and perfect.

© by Beth Simon


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