The 2River View 16.4 (Summer 2012)

S. L. Alderton

The Last Gas Station in Iowa  

Wind sweeps the parking lot so hard
she can almost see it.

Beside the smeared concrete building,
one grey van alone with the pumps.

Dust mingles with cloud
in the milky glass of air.

If houses are lit across the highway,
if wind turbines turn, white in the grey,

she cannot see them.
A kind of terror presses upon her

(or would if she felt
anything but cold):

a fear of loneliness exposed
to the wind,

of these empty places where rain darkens the sky
but does not fall.

As she crosses the asphalt
toward the brink of cloud, it seems

that the van could roll a little further,
and fall off the end of the world.

The Stillborn Speech

the words are hot within me.
they struggle and kick
in my throat, in my blood.
they are trying to break out
into the light,
into your eyes,
but fear ever wraps its dark cords around
my larynx,
my tongue,
and strangles the words, keeps them hidden,
dark, still.

it hurts me to keep in the words,
to clamp my teeth upon them,
to press my lips tight,
yet always I press:
for I fear what they will become
in your eyes,
in the light.

I press until I am sick with the words,
choked with the words,
and your eyes,
haunt me.

I need a sword,
two-edged and Caesarian,
to cut the words out,
for in me there is no strength
to bring them forth.

S. L. Alderton lives in Aurora, Colorado, where she is pursuing a B.A. in journalism at Metro State College of Denver. contact