A cherry shouldn’t be where I found you,
on that side pedestrian line of route 89.
You were the night’s filters and nickel bags,
the dollar meal trays,
an empty single-serving bottle of gin,
the twigged knees of a deer
knots in a shoelace.
You weren’t fly-ready yet though,
too ripe, too freshly picked paid for and thrown
out the window.
Whoever had you last missed all but
like a bullet casing
inside; too tough to swallow,
as the truth so often is.
It’s a shame, too, that you hid so well
behind that fleshy, outside,
sweet-scented shell, soft
on the lips, smooth,
like the last cigarette, wet,
for a taste, a minute,
meant to be held between two fingers for a night;
to flick out to pavement
and forget tomorrow:
easier, that is, than to keep you
rotted out, pit-solid in.
you writhe on cement like the fish you and daddy caught a few summers ago,
and legs pressed down by others in suit coats,
till the skin goes flat and starts to scrape off in pieces,
knee-scrapes like rollerblading down that hill with your sister,
screams like the night terrors you never actually grew out of,
but learned how to ignore
when mother flipped the pillow to the other side
until you felt the cotton on your cheek,
pushed one leg out from the weight of the covers,
and closed your eyes,
clenching your fists and hoping that for just once
you’d melt into the mattress pad