Mack Street, 1992
BY Sarah Carson
Ask Dan Miller about the ball he says is not in his right hand, about the path he's worn in the grass from here to the porch, from here to first base, grey grass beat into dry dirt using only bare heels, the weight of small, hard bodies, the weight of an entire summer without rain. If this were a photo, he would be background, on a radio, the sound of hard feet thunking through a hollow hall, places where we've thunked for entire afternoons to the sounds leaves made on branches. It'll be a day like today when we will invent the stars, pull them across the sky through open upstairs windows, holding back the curtains with our pale, nicked up wrists. We will scale the roof of a porch that touches the moon and try to hold the tail of a train that crashes through narrow vacancies of light. We will let go over and over. We will run the tracks toes first, then heel. We will wait. We will not do it again.
You were ten when you told the other kids in the neighborhood not to let Derrick in on their pick-up games of rock throwing, which is why the man that married Derrick's mom did not like you, why he pulled you up by the t-shirt onto the low stone wall that guarded off his proud colonial, explained to you about playing cards, how God deals them out individually, that Derrick's hand was somehow insufficient, somewhat short. The whole business of cards was new to you, though, and you thought about it all the way home to your house full of Parcheesi boards and Legos, country songs on tape. You didn't tell him that where you lived everyone played Hungry, Hungry Hippos, or, sometimes, if dad wasn't around, Mathblaster in long, productive spurts. By the time you knew how cards worked, you'd be grown, gone, your hand laid down to a boy who had called you at every bluff. When Derrick was a man he'd start sending you text messages about his fiancé, invite you over to play Xbox or watch movies on HBO. "No thanks," you knew you'’re supposed to say, but didn't. "My boyfriend never listens to me either," you'd say. "I, too, enjoy Chinese food." "I, also, have never really been in love."
Sarah Carson was born and raised in Flint, Michigan but now lives in Chicago with her dog, Amos. She is also the author of three chapbooks, Before Onstar (Etched Press, 2010), Twenty-Two (Finishing Line Press, 2011), and When You Leave (H_NGM_N, 2012). Sometimes she blogs at sarahamycarson.wordpress.com.