Her hair was brown, but her parents swear it was black.
Ignore the first seventeen years, and the seventeen after that.
Talk of long walks through crumbling parking lots and
Suntanning on the hood of her parked car.
Beat-up old ’96 sedan her parents bought her on a
Shoestring budget. She hated it but I loved it.
A lot of things happened in the car. A moonlit first kiss
With roaches pilling at our feet.
We filled bags with stinking green and hung price tags
With our phone numbers scribbled on the back. They
Met us there to buy and trade, their desolate eyes screamed
Their need for smoked edifices turning their vision translucent.
Her eyes never got cloudy, and she had shoes but she kept
Them in the backseat by the shoebox. She’d press her bare feet against
The pedals, toying with motion. She sped and she went too slow,
It depended on her mood but it was always one of the two.
Her brother enlisted in the red, white, and blue and I tried to
Convince her parents she’d sworn her life to the colors too,
But they just yelled in self-righteous highs and lows while
I cowered in the storm, because they weren’t wrong after all
About me, but they were wrong about her. She dropped out
Age 16, but she kept learning. Library education like Bradbury.
She left us too soon, car horns and shouts. Mangled metal and
Smoking gaskets. The steering column contorted and trapped
Her bare feet against the pedals. They had to cut her body from her
Imprisoned feet, left where they could toy with motion for the rest
Of eternity, but never move. They could press the pedal, but it didn’t
Go anywhere until they trashed it at the scrap yard.
Justin Hilliard reads and writes, lost in vast beaches of his native sunshine state. He edits his own literary journal The Chaotic Review, and even finds the time for a day job.