I drove the west side of town,

a skeleton carcass surrounded

by bloated poverty.

The old truck stop where we stopped

to kiss. The ghost of strawberries

waft through my nose, a sweet note,

not gone, never forgotten.

Your name began with “J,”

like Julie, Jackie, Jessie, maybe Jo.

I don’t know. I just know the kiss,

the smile, temptation, and the fire

running through those places

a seventeen year-old boy

explores each nigh beneath his blankets.

Funny how you just burst into my dream

like an urgent steam whistle atop a train

clacking down a rusted track

in disrepair like our old west side

empty of our childhood luxuries,

but the memory of your lips pressed

open like a “J” against my tongue.