Forthcoming next month in Heyday's new literary series, "New California Writing 2011" http://www.heydaybooks.com/upcoming/new-california-writing-2011.html
by Ruth Nolan
The attic door opened easily
that pearl smooth August night
after a day hitchhiking in dusty wind,
no real labor, no hard breathing.
One push, we climbed on the roof,
two sunburned, runaway teenage girls,
a backpack full of cheese and fruit
stolen from the market that day
We'd broken into a desert cabin.
I shot a window with my father's gun.
No one had been there for so long
the refrigerator was propped open.
We crawled through splintered glass.
You worried that there might be
a dead baby or rattlesnake inside.
I found an unopened bottle of wine.
I held the buck knife, and you held
the fruit. I sliced the salami and
licked my sticky fingers, then you
twisted the corkscrew and laughed.
We sifted through the box of jewels
stolen from our moms. You clasped
a silver necklace on my burnt neck
and I slipped an old ring onto you.
We shared an old wool army blanket
and a man's extra-large flannel shirt,
talked about all the guys we shared,
cock and breast size, abortion cramps.
You wanted to know what it was like
to fight fires; I told you I had no sisters.
I popped the cork, you passed the bottle,
I thought I could taste your tongue,
delivered like the silent rise of moon,
punctuating spaces between stars,
I watched Venus, Orion’s Belt fade
while you spread oysters onto rye.
New California Writing 2011 is edited by Gayle Wattawa, who edited "Inlandia: A Literary Journey through southern California's Inland Empire" and also my terrifice, wise supervising editor for "No Place for a Puritan."