We started off
the wrong way.
You were dating
the homely-looking brunette
who worked at the Chevron station.
She often handed me
my 49 cent, 64 ounce Diet Coke
at the drive-thru in the mornings.
With Utah’s bitter winters,
many of the gas stations
have drive-thru windows.
Something I always found odd,
just one more awkward encounter.

After the first time
your stony eyes squinted at me
in Mike’s front yard,
you wouldn’t give up
at the thought of us.
I made the mistake
of borrowing my roommate’s
too-tight, purple, velvet top
to wear to a party at your brother’s house.
It was all over after that.

Her chapstick and hair ties
were on your nightstand
the first time I visited  —
a reminder that I was an intruder.

The Chevron girl
would cruise the streets,
looking for your truck,
and stop if she saw it parked out front,
demanding to be let in —
her heavy feet descending the basement stairs
as we pretended there was no impropriety.

I should have known
it wasn’t a sustainable relationship
when you threatened
to take a bat
to a car window,
because someone had supposedly spoken ill
of your soon to be ex-sister-in-law.
(She was a wretched human!)

when you’re in too deep,
you have to think just to breathe,
and even when leaving would be best,
it’s envisioned as limb severance.

The day we drove to Vegas,
you told me if we had kids together,
and they ever thought about doing drugs,
you would just explain the various effects
so they would know what they were getting into.
You never learned how to be a parent.
No one ever read Dr. Seuss to you.

As we walked to the chapel that night,
an old man tripped on a crack
in the sidewalk near the hotel,
and I heard his kneecaps shatter
against the pavement.
I was horrified at his pain,
and even more so when you laughed
at his cries.

I should have run then,
taken off my blister-rendering Mary Janes
and acted like it was a barefoot marathon.
I could have jogged through the night,
into the sunrise,
and back to a life less soul-sucking.


I recall a summer evening,
when I was much younger.
I’d gone to bed
before the darkness had settled;
a hazy shaft of yellow
seeping through the Strawberry Shortcake curtains
in my bedroom.
The cozy of medium time
between sunset and crickets chirping
their chorus into the black
of Utah sky.

During my adolescent years,
I would sit fingers-crossed
waiting for the phone to ring,
“Game on!”
Frequently, weekends especially,
we would play kick-the-can
at the end of VanBuren Street.
There was a stress-mixed-excitement
darting amongst backyards
and peering through bushes.
A tingly fear of being caught.
My lungs filled with crisp air
as I dashed towards the aluminum cylinder
and struck it so it would cling along the pavement.

About age 14,
we would often roll out sleeping bags
on Nancy’s east facing deck
overlooking the expansive green yard,
and just above the “no dump” hill.
After the giggling and chatter
about latest crushes ceased,
the warmth of gray
would lull us to sleep.

Now the bright lights
drown out starry skies
and I rarely hear crickets,
but recollections
bring back a compilation
of my best memories.


Originally published in Weber State University’s “Metaphor” 1999

Someone I’ve heard
say things before
is looking for me
I see him in a bluish dark,
smoking a joint
doing a French inhale,
looking like the Lone Ranger
but wanting to be more than alone.

He is spontaneity
and long nights under
foreign covers.
He is the element
of surprise
with a serious face
when he wants to be

I am longing for him
myself as his princess
that floated out of a dog’s life,
up from reality
to cloud nine.

It all sounds cliche;
princesses and endless love,
yet he squeezes
my hand so firmly
all these words
come pouring out,
and drop on the petals
of an unwatered flower.