hollie ash

How I Got Out Alive - Poem by hollie ash

My white dress, veil and bouquet are a stark contrast
to my outstretched thumb here on this narrow embankment.
Thoughts pass as quickly as the clouds I see.
Like them I am directionless, except for the need to move.

Honeysuckle tickles my feet and my nose,
and I can hear that the 3: 10 train is running late.
Down the bank are a summers’ worth of empty beer bottles.
Wouldn’t you know, they’re the very kind I lost my virginity to.

I hear Junior Stanley’s formerly-orange-but-now-rusted Malibu before I see it.
It careens around the bend, AC/DC blaring, as always.
Barley 16, we used to sit three-across in the front of that old car,
passing cigarettes between Junior, Jessie and me.

Jessie would belt out “standing on the edge of the road, thumb in the air”.
That memory seems a bit ironic standing here right now.
And Jessie’s become a stranger since she left for college,
too high-faluten’ to even be my maid of honor.

The Malibu skids to stop, ass-end sliding sideways in the gravel.
Junior grins and hollers “your daddy is looking for you, girl! ”.
I throw my head back and laugh. Not at Junior, but at this:
He’s never even left the county and I’m trying to catch a ride off the continent.

Over a beer from a cooler in the back seat, Junior and I hatch a plan.
We trade clothes: he in my wedding dress and me in his dirty work gear.
I get behind the wheel of my new Malibu and pull over at the church.
And I call out my best wishes as Junior climbs the steps.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Poem Edited: Thursday, July 2, 2009

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