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Honorable Mention 2014 Poetry Contest


At sixteen, the good kiss
relied on pitch-black darkness
during the seventeen-mile ride to our dairy farm
after we won the basketball game
and my point-guard boy danced with me

to Oh, Pretty Woman in a dimmed gym—
what kinesthesia that dimness held and
again in his father’s Ford Fairlane downshifting
through country stop signs, the landscape
dressed in see-through black underwear,

a chocolate sky, our talk tactile and tantalizing
while we review a full-court press, mockery over
the history teacher in the bleachers desperate
to get laid and finally we’re at my half-mile
driveway, headlights pick each stone as we inch

our way to the farmyard, arriving breathless
and expectant; the Ford nestles between the pump
house and granary, startled pigeons fly from the silo,
two barn cats slither from one hideout to another
as his arm reaches for me and we wriggle in,

windows steaming, a period of study begun
when suddenly the yard backfills with yellow light,
a naked 100-watt bulb under a silver saucer high
on the cow barn, the switch thrown by my father
in his drawers shivering on cold kitchen linoleum.

Within twenty years, that 100-watt bulb
would yield to fierce halogens, and jet-black
undulations on a rural drive would sallow
into urban sky with our earth gone electric
and heaven losing its mind. 




Kathryn Gahl’s favorite things (besides words) are cooking, humor, Feldenkrais, open minds, red lipstick, and dancing mad hot ballroom. Her awards include The Hal Prize for fiction and poetry.

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