— 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.
About the AuthorDana 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).