Not Home

Thereís a reason for this, the block I have to walk around,
the wilds behind the gas station, kicking weed seeds out in puffs,
the wooden planks in whatís left of the Walkersí fence
like vowels resounding in dissolved words,
carbon remnants of what she said, why I pace her block,
and probably why sheís not home. We were best of buds,
but when the not so latent became not so veiled, scribbled
on the truth-or-dare torn from her spiral-bound,
we were sent running through the sprinkler,
its arc swelling cathedral around us,
and I tipped my face up to the mist, thinking,
Iím no longer envious in the least.
At last Iím living my life.
But tell me it was that simple, with her wet shirt
the sheerest resistance hugging her ribs, the radio
picking up our signal in the basement
and waving to us in pop love recognition,
or was it shattering the silence of all after,
ruining whatever grace young girls are said to have?
I saw a movie where now I had to kill her
if she didnít return my regard. But what was I going to use?
A tampon string to garrote her? A Bic pen to the carotid?
She leaned against the hill to view the stars and I looked at her to see them.
I wish youíd never said all that, she said, and I could have said more
but by now what good would it do to "best left alone?" I watched her lips,
her lips, her lips, I watched her throat for its pulse. Youíve always
been a crazy girl, she said when I was beginning to think thereís just no way
a night as big as this one could drain empty that fast. Crazy, crazy,
crazy, crazy, I waited 8 beats before I kissed her. Iíll show you
crazy, Iíll show you itís my life youíre in, not the other way around.

Amanda Yskamp has published work in Threepenny Review, Haydenís Ferry Review, The Georgia Review, and Caketrain, among others. She lives with poet Douglas Larsen and their two children on the 10-year flood plain of the Russian River, where she teaches correspondence courses and writes food articles for the local free paper. (yskamp@sonic.net)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761