By Bex Peterson, Editor-in-Chief
They couldn’t pay you to stay here
(and it’s not like they tried).
It wouldn’t be worth the ghosts
of concrete, ripped up in the aftermath;
abandoned basketball hoops,
that one place we hid in the bushes
when we were small enough that the juniper boughs
stretched like trees above
our dirty little heads.
The buses are always full to bursting
(everyone’s trying to get out of the suburbs).
It takes three bridges to get anywhere good
and you’re always a little too late or
three hours too early.
We drove past his house last night
(and past a cop car: “Drugs, probably,” you said, bored).
You told me he moved north, that the Jeeps in the driveway
weren’t his. I offered to fight him
and was drunk enough to mean it.
Hell; I’d fight him anyway.
Just like the guy I buy beer from at the store up the road;
in high school he called me a slut and I slapped
a red handprint in his pockmarked cheek.
Now I hand him my money and
we don’t make eye contact.
(I think we both thought we’d be somewhere else by now.)
They couldn’t pay me to stay here
(and it’s not like they try).
The forest eats our secrets
but the bad memories never keep to the shadows
because it all went down in broad daylight
and that was the worst part.
But it’s a scrappy kind of place
and I’m a scrappy kind of person.
I don’t hate it nearly as much as I want to
and I don’t hate it nearly as much as I pretend.