West Texas

Miles drip slowly, condensation gathering on glasses of sweet tea
Blurring endless country sprawl, the occasional hill to career down.
Speed as fast as you like, you can’t shorten a 700-mile stretch––
Humid nightfall in your dry eyelids, forcing an admission of defeat,
So dark you can’t see straight, never mind the aching. And you pull off
In Pecos or Odessa, knowing Houston sleeps just fine without you,
Indifferent to all things bleary, bloodshot, and apologetic.

The Heartland (An Evacuation)

I wandered with hardened eyes, bewildered like a seventeen-year- old kid
riding out the tail-end of a Dexedrine hallucination in a hotel bathroom.
Home is a place of stability we only ever dreamt of.
You told me we could find our way home even in those temporary spaces,
in the simple action of return. With the television muted and your guitar’s gentle
strummed notes, your mellow half-sung murmur, I drifted off to sleep
wondering if it was meant as some kind of lullaby, if you meant to quiet
the sensation of the flickering lights in the periphery.

The van was littered with McDonald’s wrappers and yellowed magazines.
With images of quaint cottages we could tear out and paste up and make pretend
that we too could belong in such calm, expected spaces whenever we decided to
plant our feet on dry ground, whenever we were ready.


Emily Pinkerton

Raised in the shadow of Houston refineries, Emily Pinkerton currently lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University, and her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, BlazeVOX, Pith, and LEVELER, among others. Her first chapbook, Natural Disasters, was recently released with Hermeneutic Chaos Press in July 2016. Her favorite color is fog.

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