Sunday 24 October 2021

The Year of Running Away

by Allison Thorpe

One summer I sold flowers on a street corner.
It was Arizona and the sun converted
the crust from my northern bones
into orange smoothies and halter tops.
I skateboarded in the park
and forgot the language of snow.
With each bouquet I hawked,
my hair grew blonder and wilder,
the sun a drama queen
turning my skin into a fading
remembrance of winters past
until I owned that street corner.
Bright carnations and daisies,
a whisper of baby’s breath and fern,
the bundles flew into car windows—
a quick gift for grandma,
husbands hoping to bury mistakes,
hospital errand duties—
impulse buying in a fast food world.
I lived in a shady apartment
above a thriving jazz club
with Jeannie who read palms
and took her bible to bed,
two windblown transplants
eager for adventure.
We obsessed over Etta and Billie
and the syncopation of women.
We hung out with life that summer,
tasted dangers mothers warned us about,
paving our own path to adulthood
and flourishing in that culture
where even the cactus bloomed,
beautiful and temporary
like dust dancing sunshine.

* * * * *

"The Year of Running Away" originally appeared on Workhorse Publishing website.

Allison Thorpe is the author of several collections of poetry, the most recent being Reckless Pilgrims (Broadstone Books). Her work has appeared in such journals as So To Speak, Appalachian Heritage, Still: The Journal, Split Rock Review, Roanoke Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Gingerbread House. She'd love to be an international poker player.

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