top of page

Lying in the Street

CW: child abuse

I want you to try on a feeling today,

one different from the color quiet-exit,

a color different from late-night-ambulance,

a color different from brown-bag-

of-cheap-wine that paves an exit

with corpulent eyes. You exist

on a boundary between this and that;

one arm in the urn, the other palm up, reaching

out from a broken bathtub, too drunk to stand

in a shower, breath the smell of diesel fuel

at the bottom of a waste barrel.

I imagine someone scrubbing your hair

with love while you slump forward,

unaware of your stupor. Your eyes

the color of a used cigarette filter,

your skin the shade of blanched cauliflower.

The sun stares at you through dark spots

calling you–calling you up to feed

and now you’ve mistaken this hot

watching ball of hell as your mother.

She flicks her cigarette ash onto you

over and over again and kisses you,

her hands on both sides of your head,

over and over again until you are gone.

Siblings shed tears that wash away

your muddy jacket from the street,

a merge of son, mom, feelings,

a new color called please-come-back-again.

About the Author

Trapper Markelz (he/him) writes from Arlington, Massachusetts. He is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Childproof Sky, a Cherry Dress Chapbooks 2023 selection. His work has appeared in the journals Baltimore Review, Stillwater Review, Wild Roof Journal, Greensboro Review, and Passengers Journal, among others. Learn more at

bottom of page