Say I’m easily lost. Say it’s mid-June, Harrisburg. The man will leave as he came, hazy spot on the proverbial horizon, speck on an otherwise relatively clean record. Why record this? And why love? Say the man is a shy songwriter gone addicted. Or, skip the introduction and cut to the chase. Say there are three men where there ought to be two. Say one is a kid on his way home to a backwoods father with liver disease. Say the kid leaves early one morning without leaving a note. Bless mid-June nonetheless. And bless Harrisburg . Why menthol cigarettes? Or Oldsmobile love-making? Call it indirect characterization. Call it plot development. Call it a crying shame. Bless the tremor in the left hand. Why Xanax kisses in the rainy Pennsylvanian moonlight? Why guitar picks floating in the toilet bowl? What, now, is left? The man getting ready to leave. And me, already forgetting the details, already ready to quit Harrisburg cold. One man where once there were two, three. And a tremor in the left hand, lost keys in the songwriter’s Oldsmobile. A spilt-open steamer trunk full of spiral-bound notebooks. And a highly-flawed narrative structure.
Paul-Victor Winters is a high school teacher and adjunct professor of writing living in Southern New Jersey; his poems have appeared in a number of literary journals.