Sergio Cabezas CC
It smelled of fried food and an in between time
The sicksweet smell of old wood a drawer in the cottage bedroom
Leaned on the yellowing wall while my mom was drunk and she yelled at my brother
And he went out and flopped onto a giant pillow in the sand
My cousin walking down to the water to drunk swim alone at midnight,
A bottle of fireball like usual in his fist. “Sometimes I just come out here while you’re all
Asleep and look at the stars”
Mom and aunts and cousins dancing on my aunt’s cottage deck to Shut up and Dance
I was too scared to move my feet off the flat wood deck.
And the shore inching ever closer these days but the way things were always new,
When I was littler and used my new watercolors to paint the sunrise,
Toys in the drawer of a motel dresser, stucco walls, scratchy carpet, patterned poly duvet,
Block tv on a white table.
How long the beach used to be, how it was a journey down there and a journey back.
Candy necklaces and biglots bags
But this year,
Champagne drunk and pretending not to be at the table at my aunt’s cottage,
Older cousins playing cards and sneaking me sips.
Champagne drunk not because I needed to be but because I wanted to be,
And my Aunt Jackie saying, “A good friend will get you another drink.
A great friend will get you some water”
Ella Payne is a 2020 graduating senior at Whetstone High school, and a graduate of The Jonathan R Reynolds Young Writers Workshop. She is from Ohio.
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