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  • Writer's pictureLammergeier Staff

Boom Box | Amorak Huey

My father leaves again. Returns, falls asleep

in the driveway with a warm six-pack of Pabst

like a fist between his thighs. He swears

he has not been gone that long, is not

that drunk. My mother smokes more now

than before she quit. The fire

was four years ago, we're still living

in a trailer parked behind

the charcoaled foundation of our old house.

Before it's too late I should

mention the rifle, the box of bullets

I found in the back of the closet

behind the skin mags, the vibrator.

My parents don't even talk to each other

but the body is capable of all kinds of lies.

My mother will not let me listen

to Run-DMC, which she says

is because of God but I know better.

All those gold chains, such audacity.

She doesn't know anything about me.

I steal Marlboros one at a time,

matches from the back of the stove,

I'm cutting the sleeves out of my t-shirts

these days, freaking out the neighbor kids

by spelling pussy on my Ouija board,

trying to make it sound like bragging,

telling them this summer I'm going to get

Stella from up the hill to pull up her shirt for me.

I carry my boom box everywhere,

my secret cassette of Raising Hell,

sometimes the gun. I can make

anyone believe anything. Maybe

my father hits me. Maybe the war

changed him, though I never knew him before,

so what do I know? Maybe I shoot

at squirrels but can never hit one.

Maybe I'm hanging out on the girders

of the old bridge with the volume on 10,

hoping one of these songs will piss off someone

enough to stop and give me a talking-to.

Maybe I'm setting fire to sticks

and dropping them in the water.

Maybe I killed one of the coon hounds

caged up by Stella's asshole dad

who maybe hits her sometimes, too,

maybe hurts her in more silent ways.

Maybe I hope she is as lonely as I am.

Maybe this is the most fucked-up time

in the history of the world

to be fourteen, maybe there's some poison

in the river that feeds our wells.

Maybe I can feel my skin blistering

from the inside out, maybe the bruises

are bleeding into each other. What a mess.

Maybe the gun never goes off.

Maybe it's only the music announcing

I am here. Maybe I'm shouting

my own name, over and over, synced

with the beat. Boom, boom,

like that. Boom.

"Boom Box" originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Bloodroot Literary Magazine. It can be found in Boom Box (Sundress Publications 2019).



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