volume seven | number two | fall 2006

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Poetry

 

 

 



Robin Merrill
-- Purple


Brandon R. Schrand
-- Nine Books on the Divining Rod


Mike Young
-- Clay in Grandma Claire

 

Purple

The woman in the next booth said you were already
turning purple when they pulled you from the wreck.

She didn’t know I knew you, minutes before
when your skin was cream.  You and I

hadn’t talked since the fight so I didn’t know
your plans, that you’d be on that road, in that town. 

Nor had she caught your name so I didn’t know
it was you, just that someone was dead

and that it probably didn’t matter to me because
I was seventeen.  I was getting my hair styled

for my senior pictures.  I was at the salon.  I was dying
my hair fuchsia to shock my Mom, and I couldn’t wait

to show you, but you were being pulled from a car,
a white car, and you were already turning purple,

and traffic was lining up and your parents were pulling up
and a cosmetologist was massaging mousse into my hair

when someone turned on the radio in the other room
and provided a name to go with the news

and the woman with her hands in my hair asked me,
do you know that name?  Your name, my best friend.

I said yes and made a joke about what a bad
driver you were to prove I knew you well and I said

you’d bounce back, you always did, and the beautician
took her hands out of my hair and said, no, you don’t

understand, it was fatal.  I stood up, asked for the phone,
black plastic sheet falling towards my feet, I turned   <>

to claim this grief I knew I could never earn.


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