I asked him for cigarettes, taking a chance he’d want to be a cool dad. I stood on his deck later, focused on making a cigarette burn on the cuff of my jacket.
I was stoned the summer after high school. We went to Taco Bell every day. I’d been in the system since junior high.
We speak of this fantasy when he is not too groggy from the morphine. In these times of clarity, my love for him forms bone and muscle.
Later, the girls stand in front of the open refrigerator, slightly feral: slices of cheese torn from plastic, pickles from the jar, a swig of Hershey’s syrup, jelly scooped out with a finger.
At that point, we expected locked doors, staff with keys, and intricate systems of levels and points that determined our value, our movements, our freedoms.
I couldn’t drop this in Sawyer’s lap. He couldn’t know there was any more trouble than driving into town when the well ran dry.
That summer, the brilliant bursts of muzzle flash replaced the on off, on off, on off of fireflies. With our fingers in our ears, it was beautiful in the dark.
The boy held two fingers sideways, squinting toward the horizon. “Thirty minutes,” he silently mouthed to himself, dropping his hand.
what’s your name
where are you going
do you need a ride
Best of all, I held empty glass globes that could be coaxed into illumination, and they would shine with nocturnal luminance as though they were the effortless, miniature twins of the sun.