Then before our first reason to be alone together he was just my favorite teacher. And I found him. Then he said he needed my help because he was sick. And an internet search is all it took to find him. Then he took me into a storage room where he showed me how to jab the insulin needle into his ass. And I just went to see how he could be living with himself. Then the second time there was no needle. And the place is all his but he’s the only one working, just pushing drinks. Then I wanted him how only a thirteen-year old can want. And it’s built out of a few double-wides cobbled together and set down in a gravel lot off what is barely a highway. And there’s a decent jukebox. Then when I trusted him like I trust you now he said, ‘you’ll be better at everything she isn’t.’ And I am going to keep going, maybe again tomorrow. Then he said, ‘some day it can be just us because you’ll be old enough.’ And I will always just buy a couple drinks. Then his wife. And I just play a few songs on the jukebox. Then I slept like a dead girl. And I was ‘Just on my way to Sacramento.’ Then his kids. And the worse places always have the best jukeboxes because they deliver them stocked. Then I woke up like a dead girl. And the owners are too lazy to mess with the rotation. Then my parents. And I was ‘Just coming back from Sacramento.’ Then the church themselves. And every time I was the only one there. Then they were all taught to forget. And he lives in even worse of a shack out behind the place. Then none of them would bother with what I would remember. And he’s more than alone. Then there are no more promises. And all around is dark desert where you can’t see nothing. Then most of what I give you now still comes from him. And you know how sometimes something has to stop so things can be our own. Then you’ll want to make sure there’s none of me in all of this. And they’ll blame it on his pancreas. Then you walked out to where I waited for you in the dark. And what it’ll be like is just reading some news.
Philip Shaw is a creative director in the communication industry in Seattle, Washington. His poetry and prose has found homes at Kahini.org, the magazine Everywhere, and he was selected for the 2013 Wild Light Award, with the work forthcoming in the The Los Angeles Review. He visually explores his writing process at: www.aRoughDraft.com.