This poem by Elizabeth Merrigan ’16 was selected for publication in the Claremont Review, a premier international literary magazine for young writers. Congratulations, Liz!
The wheels sing rusty high
into the street’s sandpaper sallow,
chanting their revolutions,
slower upon slowly.
They ride the same grooves,
play the old tracks.
Blackberry chewing gum
sticks the boombox windows,
gear stick swung starboard.
Beneath the bill of a cap, he asks
when will they hop the turnstile traffic,
cut the two gas stations, kick the uphill
curb of home? Seatbelts shake their heads,
slither into torn foam fissures.
Cheek against the glass,
battered. Steel rattles as it blunders on.
This upside-down bowl of a
town, nothing leaks through the gulch
where the rim meets the dry earth.
Rain never stirred the dust, never
stuck around. His brain turns to steam
in oppressive heat. The pleather whispers
sagging comfort, its distortion
wrapping its arms around his sinking waist.
The loose fibers at the seams,
the wrinkled eraser shavings,
stroke the sweat from his forehead.
He sits, feet planted in the metal floor’s furrows
by leaden backpacks pinning down his toes
should he choose to disembark.