Poetry - Issue 20 | May 2014

10-100

by Bradley K


10-100

I’d held it for an hour.
Near Snowshoe borough, Pennsylvania
full to burst, I couldn’t any longer.
Snowshoe’s lone gas station
looked like a rat trap.
At 3AM I thought, Who’s up?
and drove into a neighborhood.
Stopped at a stop sign, unlit, idling-
I let ‘er rip, urine by the gallon.
Leaning against the outside of
the driver’s door, exhausted,
I craned my head around to look over
the left front tire—as if inspecting it for
defects were someone watching
& wondering what I was doing.
I aimed my stream carefully behind
the wheel to conceal it.

SWACK! Rattuttuttle.

A hundred yards down the block
a screen door shut hard.
I hid my pee stream better
in my side mirror’s meager shadow.
A single street lamp cast the light
for the entire neighborhood.
I squinted. A figure stomped down porch steps—
blurry in the distance. I thought,
Oh, a 3rd shifter, a miner, a mill worker,
I’d be door slamming mad too
to wake up at 3AM for anything.

My assessment was inaccurate.

Briefly Illuminated
under the single street lamp I saw
a man cradling a shotgun in his arms.
A silhouette—He was 50 or 60 yards & closing.
Ohshitohshitohshit, I thought,
I’d’ve rathered rats to buckshot!
What’d I hold it for a whole hour for?

Five full minutes in & my stream had
only now begun to dwindle.
The man walked steadily—
Long strides make 40 yards pass quickly.
Step, step, step—unwavering steps.
I watered on.
I didn’t want to.
Trembling,
I pleaded with the road gods,
Let me not get blasted & I promise
from now on I’ll drive the speed limit
and signal at least a hundred yards
before lane changes!
Honest, I promise
.
& my pee stopped;
they had heard my plea.
Thankyouthankyouthankyou

I threw it in gear and gunned it
before I even sat down—
The accelerator slammed my door shut.
10 short yards were left between us,
Well within range,
the man stood, staring,
with shotgun cradled—not leveled.
& over peeling tires,
I yelled:
It’s all right now!
and it was.


Editor’s note: 10-100 is road speak for a pee stop.


About the author

Bradley K Meyer writes from Dayton, Ohio. He has adventured through forty-four of the forty-eight states he acknowledges as legitimate. His favorite animal is the Virginia opossum. He feigns international recognition having read in Canada once and having, on a separate occasion, sold a copy of his book of poetry, Hotel Room (Vostok East Press, 2013), to a Polish woman.

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