Bohm ♦ Carter
Gallaher ♦ Gruskin
Jay Robinson |
A roadside diner halfway between
Holland and Grand Haven. 2:22 a.m.
She sips coffee. He holds the key
to their hotel.
I just don't understand,
she sighs, why the universe requires
a covert operation.
a third cube of sugar in. Sweat
appears on highballs of water.
again, he tells her for the second
time this week, according to Jeanine,
we're already a little obvious.
It's too late.
She doesn't know if he's talking
about the whole affair, or just the room
And he's grown sick
of all the verisimilitude: Tickets
for redeyes to LAX he'll never board,
menus from Thai restaurants in Chicago
stolen off a colleague's desk, slapped
on the fridge at home.
does he motion toward the door, tilt
his head, give the slightest shift of his eyes?
Why does she suddenly envision
all the room in his oversized SUV,
the dark, gravel parking lot out back?
I couldn't wait anymore, he tells her
afterwards, his head collapsed
onto her chest. Khakis handcuff
his bony ankles.
The blue numbers
of the dashboard clock return
Maybe, she thinks,
he meant the hotel all along.
She wouldn't let any other man drive
her green Volvo.
Nothing on the radio,
the unmarked lanes before them
Wilson River Road. Water on one side,
a canyon on the other.
Only his hands
like burlap, long fingers she curled
her thumbs around could take the wheel,
a man who knew how to hotwire things
to get them started.
All this, he told her,
was a sign she'd been famous in another life,
and gestured toward the windshield.
Which one? she asked. The river
or the canyon?
Silence and darkness
for a few miles.
If somehow, he said,
they came across a doe, dead and fat,
in the belly, something still warm
and sprawled along the road's center,
he'd push its lives out of the way.
But she said she'd grab the knife
stashed in the glove box because
she knew the place to cut it open,
to pull out something that couldn't be
But this wasn't Oregon,
he reminded her. The river's the Flint River.
The canyon just a drainage ditch.
Skeletons of factories slid by one side.
He reached for her hand again.
There probably weren't deer for miles,
he told her.
Oh yes, she said,
Like everything else, they're in hiding.
teaches English at the University of
Akron. He's also the
Co-Editor-in-Chief and Reviews Editor for Barn Owl Review. His poem have appeared in Slant and Weave and other places. His prose has been
Poetry and Agni.