PoetryIssue 20 | May 2014

10-100

by Bradley K Meyer

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.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok