Lying in the Street
By: Trapper Markelz
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 trappermarkelz.com