A boy sits alone at a corner booth in his favorite diner. The air
outside is pregnant with storm. The old man at the hardware store
said it would be like this, said looks like it's gonna be a cold, hard rain
tonight. Can feel it my bones, I can, rubbing his swollen belly
with dirty hands. Calloused hands, horned with sharp bits of rough skin.
Hands you only get from what the town folk call honest work. Hands
that come from building fences or gathering crops during harvest,
hands that keep the ol' Chevy in the backyard running for another year.
The boy looks at his own hands & tries to divine some future
in the creases swimming in smooth pale pink. He has never built a fence.
Never plucked corn from the stalk. When his engine refuses to start,
he has the garage take it away & fix it in his absence. He wonders
if even once in his life he will ever do something the town folk call honest.
A pretty waitress comes by to fill his coffee, her eyes made up to sparkle
like every constellation in the sky. Looks like it's gonna be a cold, hard rain
tonight, the boy says to her. I can feel it in my bones.
William James is a poet, aging punk rocker, train enthusiast from Manchester, NH, and the author of rebel hearts & restless ghosts (Timber Mouse Publishing, 2016). He's a contributing editor for Drunk In A Midnight Choir whose work has appeared in Sundog Lit, Souvenir Lit Journal, alien mouth, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Follow him on Twitter (@thebilljim) or at www.williamjamespoetry.com