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It’s seventies duck camo in a tired living room, fridge

full of gold beer cans, last spring’s calf, and the love

note you write other boys on the inside of your cheek.

All I have is a picture of you against

a trailer striking a match from a pack

with a little river scene on the cover.

Of you in your blue jeans shooting BBs into

the dogwood. A lull of tree frogs and humidity

holding you in evening's tender bruising.

A childhood of green plastic gunfire

in dirt road trenches and tough guy

American slang filling the night.

All I have is the silver rattle you

gave my mother, gave me, when

you knew you wouldn't be there.

A silence like moth wings around

how you died that my grandparents

still hold tight in clasped hands.

Sometimes, under the flickering neon of missing

letter signs, I see him. The boy of your dreams

howling on the street corner, waiting for you.



Here is where animals will crawl through open windows.

Here is where the last cowboy on the corner hates you.

He is muscled death, the forever black of fingernails,

a torn jaw.

Stutter your eyes back down now,

says my father in Somewhere Texas,

now passing me a joint he forms

out of the empty time between us.

I want to linger in the memories

I still have. The peach seed

in her hand, the heartbeat

of a car dying down the highway.


In a winter jar,

I keep them. Little ash

blue pebbles harvested

from wooden rattles,

crown heavy and spilling

new beginnings.

By July, they freckle

the field, red petals

unfurling like a cat's

mouth to a morning,

a vermilion eye,

a feminine wound.

Their opium scent rivals

the watered whiskey

served in sorrowfuls.

Pristine teacups full of lust.

Little wild women, heads

nodding towards existence.

Caitlin Thompson is an undergraduate student in the Creative Writing program at the University of Montana. Caitlin also runs an organic vegetable farm with her partner in Montana’s Mission Valley. Originally from Houston, Texas, Caitlin has lived and farmed in Colorado, Idaho, and now Montana. Caitlin is passionate about the American West, agriculture, poetry, and the environment.

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