The snow is black by now,
foot-high mountains lining the sidewalk,
and where someone failed to shovel,
I’m driven into the gravelly street.
Cars ease over the center line to avoid me,
and I feel both unsafe and powerful.
And now, again, the moment comes back:
night, and the two-lane through the center
of our small town, me in the back seat,
a car of teens. We weren’t drunk,
though there were empty bottles. We knew
what we were doing when we threw them
at the hitchhikers. We gasped
at our audacity when we turned around
and drove past again, and threw more bottles,
even though one of the hitchhikers
was curled in the roadside gravel,
and the other knelt over him,
waving his arm for help. Does it matter
that I didn’t throw a bottle myself,
that I asked to be taken home,
that I wept my sin to my parents,
waking them up, standing over their bed?
Thirty years ago… I slant back to the sidewalk,
my earbuds bubbling a tune,
so that the cars passing are nothing
but brushes on a snare, part
of the music, and the snow
rivulets forming at the mountains’ edges.
J.D. Scrimgeour is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently, Lifting the Turtle (Turning Point). He's also published two books of nonfiction, including the AWP Award winner, Themes for English B. He's Acting Chair of the English Department at Salem State University.