The 2River View 22.3 (Spring 2018)

Justin Hyde

that summer

we'd cut the top off a pop-can

one of us would steal a little gasoline
from our father

out on the west edge of the trailer park
tucked up under the highway overpass
like hobos

we'd drop one of our
g.i. joes in the
gasoline bath with
a lit-match

silent full

swirling the acrid burning fumes
with wooden sticks

squatting there
that last summer before our dicks got hard

women came

simple truth disappeared

& we turned inscrutable

like our fathers.

between the cracking knuckles of human thought

on a tiny chair
next to my son
at the parent teacher conference

pointing to a bar-graph
explaining percentile rank

i am focused
on her left hand

the nail
of her pinkie finger

the others
have been
chipped into submission

hit & run

by the pell-mell
akimbo rush
of children

she points
to another bar-graph

i stare
at her hand
thinking to myself:

norman rockwell
would have missed
this detail

but caravaggio
would have captured it

she leans back
in her tiny chair

crossing her left leg
over her right.

my throat throbs

it reaches
for her loins

i shit you

Justin Hyde lives in Iowa where he works as a parole officer. His work is published or forthcoming in The Alaska Quarterly Review and The Iowa Review.

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