A plastic cup hit the tile.
The ice clinked. Soda surged
like an outgoing tide.
“I’m sorry Mommy.”
I bent tired legs,
knees screeching as
I knelt on the sticky floor.
There were things down there
I didn’t want to see:
Dog hair, an old fruit loop.
A stinky kitchen rag swiped
through the spreading brown ocean of root beer.
I was fourteen again.
A foamy mug sat between us, two straws.
My hands thick with salt and sweat
in spite of the ice rimmed glass.
The florescent light half flashed “A&W.”
Car horns honked,
screen doors slammed.
I heard none of it.
I rubbed my thighs, nervous, drying.
Praying you wouldn’t take my hand.
Praying that you would.
You held a crinkled fry
aloft between us.
It hung, suspended from your fingers.
I could see the sparkle in your eye,
and right then I died.
And I prayed God please,
Christine Nichols is a new poet from Stillwater, Ok. She has work pending or previously published in Red River Review, Vox Poetica, and Strong Verse.