By Rebecca Thill
Mikey and I collected all our change
one summer and took it to the bank.
Her stash in a glass jar, mine in Ziploc.
Nineteen dollars, twenty-three dollars.
Enough for gas, beer, and one pack
of Camel Crush cigarettes
though neither of us smoked.
Still smarting from parallel break-ups
with men who made us hurt
the way laugh turns to ache
and buzz to hangover,
we pulled into the campsite and everyone stared
at two girls alone.
We walked past the showers
and shampooed our hair in the creek.
Red-rocked walls surrounding us,
splashes and playful curses
echoed and floated away
perhaps towards the rumored
vortexes above the town.
In our rush to leave home, we forgot flashlights,
matches, or even a lantern. Instead,
after the last hand of blackjack,
we tied Mikey’s cell phone to the inside of our tent.
Ray Lamontagne’s entire album played softly
on repeat above us as we finished the beer,
talked until the words ran out,
and Mikey’s breathing got long and soft.
I lay there, listening, trying
not to make too much noise, to know stillness.
And considered waking her.
But I couldn’t bring myself to do it
as I watched the phone spin
its small square of light
hitting one nylon wall, then the next.
Rebecca Thill received her MFA in poetry from Emerson College in 2014. After graduation she relocated from Massachusetts to Arizona, but remains an active reader at Ploughshares. She spends her time drinking an extraordinary amount of coffee, teaching English, and trying to write a poem about bears that isn't silly.