RISING SON’S GOING DOWN BOY
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.
FOR THE POPPIES
In a winter jar,
I keep them. Little ash
blue pebbles harvested
from wooden rattles,
crown heavy and spilling
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.