—a poem by Wayne Burke

Walking down the street
I pass a couple
arm-in-arm and
remember walking with my girl

holding her hand
to the drug store downtown
for a cherry coke,
careful not to slurp from the straw,
hearing cat-calls from
my so-called buddies
on the street and
listening to her chatter
on our way
to the cemetery
where we made-out on
the soft grass, her softer jacket
the tombstones granite
she had to be home by nine
her jacket always stayed
I would have betrayed Christ
for a touch
her treasures were locked-up
like Fort Knox:
I dumped her for an older girl
a tease, who dumped me
and then I began to hang out on
the corner, drinking beer
acting tough
one of the boys who
went "over the line" on
weekend nights
to drink
in New York State bars
and drive back
along snaky roads
passing cars like A.J. Foyt
at Indy.


Wayne Burke's work has appeared in FORGE, miller's pond, and Northeast Corridor. He was poet-of-the-month in Bareback, 7-13. His book of poems, WORDS THAT BURN, is available through Bareback Press.