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Things Go South

Always trust a red door

On a black Camaro, thighs

Sticking to the vinyl in the June

Sun, pinking up the place.

Here, the apple don’t fall

From the tree. Here, whatever you

Find lying on the ground is yours.

A scratch-off waiting to strike. The shade

From a sidelong glance. You’re looking at

What happens when a body fights back

Three years after the fact. Three years

After the fact: the sweet morning

Stench of you sweating out last night’s liquor

Just by pushing my tongue against the porcelain

Crown glued in my mouth, like hitting a switch.

Every town I leave, I leave on scholarship.

Nothing looks better to me than seeing

Nothing for miles. I can fit everything

I love into this trunk, into my own two arms,

Into my backhanded smile. And this gas station

Bathroom is more than just an American

Notion of the dirtiest place on Earth. It’s where

I’ll put on my face. I know how to wipe

A scene clean. And then I’m gone, love, like

I was never there. And even if it could hear

You at these speeds, the backseat don’t

Care a lick what you have to say. Sweetheart,

I sympathize with the assassin in every story.

from Neck of the WoodsFind more by Amy Woolard at the library

Copyright © 2020 Amy Woolard
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Amy Woolard Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.