South Berry Road

local_library South Berry Road

by Dana Guthrie Martin

Published in Issue No. 189 ~ February, 2013

for Bruce

 

You tell me we rode together on Trent’s motorcycle

all the way down Berry Road, heading south

 

toward Imhoff. I tell you I don’t remember it,

though I do. I always thought of Barry Switzer

 

on that street. We were a town that worshiped

football at least as much as God — and more often,

 

more deeply, during game season. I never once

thought of berries leaking in the sun, splitting open,

 

the ones even birds wouldn’t eat. I held on to your torso,

leaned when you told me to, as you weaved through

 

the night. We passed the creek to the left where

I was raped, the house of the boy to the right,

 

the one who did the raping. The shame of having

wanted him to love me, even after. I craved all

 

the wrong things, sought one thousand ways into

the glorious destructions the earth spits up like gravel.

 

This is what happens, I suppose, when your father

dies just like that. Wakes one day a force, and by

 

late morning lies crying in the ER, a wounded player

carried off the field never to return. His last words,

 

pain and morphine, pretty much sum up what it means

to die, and to live. When we got to Imhoff and hung a left,

 

you screamed because my body wasn’t taking the curve

the way it should. I leaned right, toward the dirt path

 

where the cops parked to watch for traffic violations.

By instinct I leaned into that tamped dirt, that dry dirt,

 

which led nowhere but in, further in, toward a suffering

I couldn’t name, sweet as fruit rotting on the vine.

 

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Dana Guthrie Martin’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Barrow Street, Boxcar Poetry Review, Failbetter, Fence, Knockout Literary Magazine and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbooks include In the Space Where I Was (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012), Toward What Is Awful (YesYes Books, 2012) and The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009).