The last time, we have sex in his car. We drive out past the
water tower on North Dearborn, take that left turn onto gravel.
I bolt myself to the seat, ratchet my fingers around the
headrest. One bare foot threatens the window. I feel it strain.
Feel the silent trees bowing over the road, their arms heavy
with green and small animals that sleep with their babies in
rustling nests, each star a sharp tooth too far to harm them.
After, he cracks the door and we giggle in the absurdity of the
overhead light, our faces red and wet as July. He drops the
condom. I think of it leaking there while we drive back, slowly
until it’s a flat white worm on the shoulder of the road, where
some runner will double step to avoid it, in the morning, mist
pooling and spinning around her ankles, mist tonguing the
leaves of locust trees. So early, cicadas are still silent, but the
cows shake their pendulous ears, sloop their way into the field.
And that runner, she picks up speed. She gets home before
the mist burns off, makes coffee, checks her sleeping baby,
and then cooks eggs for her husband, who leaves for work
late, because she invites him back to bed, heart still thrashing
from the unfinished work of living.
Carley Besl’s work has been published in Stone Highway Review, The Lindenwood Review, and elsewhere. She is currently earning her MFA in poetry from the University of California, Riverside.
Originally published in the FALL 2018 edition of the Helix.