Excerpt #93, Rocking-Chair Moon

Driving to Missoula, Night
—Ben

Rocking-chair moon, white
on black, Big Sky furniture.
Dad’s grin beaming down.

Long Break
—Carly

I know it still has a heartbeat,
that low-life parasite,
the one Dwight unleashed.
I know it’s still squirming and inching
and secreting venomous urges
within the brains of a few busybodies,
at least.

But I’m grateful
for the new friends I’ve found—
girls who refused to succumb
to the epidemic of gossip and rumor,
who approached me
with words of encouragement and empathy.

I heard from boys, too;
they let me know
what they thought of the real worm—
What a loser, they’d say;
How could he do that to you?

And several of them were sincere,
I’m pretty sure,
but I have a feeling at least a few had fallen
for Dwight’s distorted portrayal of me,

and all they wanted was my gratitude
and a good date.
So I smiled and nodded and put them
—all of them—off.
I’m taking a break, a long one.

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