A journal of narrative writing.
How It Is

Lately, moving through the barbeque— the kind you’ve come to recognize generically as Golden Arches, KFC— you’re like a tourist passing through the paradox of summer, cruising to the jazz of night and streetlights, the radio from Morgan State a needle, a black martini, and the job he’s got to do, a grounding. The kind you never knew when you were his age, back when boys at eighteen were the keys to an ignition, revving. Their dream machine a Chevy. Their sauce was Batman, One and Two, simmered in the garbage cans across the tracks from Tall Boys in a parking lot, their summers freely licensed. Back when headlights scoffed at traffic stops, punctured nights to wreck the joyride. To prove the V-8 engine. Now, he counts on you to pick him up because the night is just as much a hustle as it is a gunshot wound. Your son’s not free, not yet, still on his shift, still stopping thieves from copping toolboxes. The amber awning holds its drops of Sakrete, cement blocks. You’re pulling in the lot of the Home Depot. You’ll wait. You’ll turn the engine off and watch the heat lights strike. They strip the darkness. You’ll tell yourself he’s lucky. He’s not hurt. He’s not hungry.