Lance Kenneth Blakney
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shortcut.

we were walking through a field of red alders

‘watch your legs

be careful of your legs’ my mother said

the legs that would carry me

into the rest of my life

‘do you mind’ she lit a cigarette

‘no.’ children weren’t allowed to mind

when it came to things like

breakfast, gasoline, cigarettes-

they were all complimentary

if the air had walls they’d be stained a dingy yellow

and the sun, a fluorescent light filled with black flies

scrambling in a circle

in search of freedom

a thorn grazed the back of my shin

two drops of blood pooled at the surface of the opening

‘i’ve got to quit smoking’ she said for 47 years

she smiled

i smiled too but i was thinking about the blood on my leg.

my brothers hair was white

white like softness

as he trailed behind us in my shadow

mouthing ‘shortcut, shortcut.’

all of the days harshness

used up in one hour.

- cassidy ingersoll

Lance BlakneyComment