Poem by Sean Brendan-Brown
through the Wichita Falls Coyotes high
school yearbook: there’s what’s-her-name,
the girl you swore you’d love 4-ever;
there’s Johnny “da Bull” Burke
so big, so tough,
who punched nose-blood
all over your KISS Army T-shirt.
how you flew home from Pendleton
after Marine boot to square the past,
bumped Johnny at Kroger’s: he
didn’t recognize you. Followed him
to the parking lot where da Bull (balding,
still pimpled, fat, thick glasses sunk
into the pug nose, pregnant wife cursing
the heat) stumbled, ding-ding bounced
a can of chili. And their car — battered ’77
Ford Maverick — where’s Johnny’s ’69 Z28?
beat he looked, how pathetic the
dangling Playboy air-freshener. He
drove away stealth-drinking Miller,
wife cursing, pulling Ritz from a box.
SEAN BRENDAN-BROWN, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has been published in the Notre Dame Review, Wisconsin Review, Indiana Review, Texas Review, Poetry East, Southampton Review, and elsewhere. He received a 1997 NEA Poetry Fellowship and a 2010 NEA Fiction Fellowship. His books can be found here.
Third Place Winner of the 2013 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry