portion of the artwork for Damian Caudill's poetry
Naming It
Damian Caudill

There’s a girl sitting in the brown-simmer grass that Id marry if I was Spike Lee
or better yet if I just picked up some Spanish like Q who’s planted in the post
asking for the ball, up to his neck in it,
and girl in the grass doesnt have a name I can spell, but shes got these nails
painted like cracked lips, pink-red with wet blood depth,
and when dusk light creeps onto this girl and she gets perfect shadow soft
I like to think that back home she must go by something beautiful
valley rose, desert daughter, sea.
But out here she’s just “Johnny’s squeeze” or nothing,
and Spark says that really shes his step-sister, but it doesnt matter
a bit because theres no cross-thread with that, no scientific reason to not-be,
and smoking next to her, Johnny’s pear-peel back looks bad as ever where
the sun got him good on the black-top right around mid-day,
got him worse than Tre in the morning who lost a tooth last May
in the D league but out here makes us all look suspect, rec league run-off,
pick-up game filler, got him worse than Pierce in the afternoon
making it look too damn easy on his drive-byes to the rim
until he had to cut back to the city for a second shift around sunset.

So when Roy pulls up in his mom’s Grand Marquis and me, and Johnny,
and Johnny’s squeeze climb in the back seat together I can’t help but think
about what it was like last June when we were stuck out on the lakefront
with all the same girls wed known since forever,
Johnny back a year with the flat-top and powder-blue Air Force 1’s
telling me again and again that there wasn’t a single girl between us
who had ever really had it, that girls who hung around us
didn’t taste like anything didn’t smell like anything,
they were just hard air he said, something so familiar it doesn’t even register
before or after, these girls had never done a thing for Johnny,
these girls that to date I hadn’t even touched not one time,
not like every other boy out here running, hands up in the air calling for the ball,
asking for some sort of leather-lush, them who had had it again and again
with the lazy eyes lax lips jammed hands pushing into and through
every hot place like sandpits or the airbag in reverse.

And I don’t know if this girl lets Johnny do any of those things, but I think if she does
it’s not really conscious, no this girl is an escapist maybe, she goes places I bet,
moves out and away without a change in expression,
won’t even lift an eyebrow when it starts, won’t even drop a stuffed up sigh
when it’s over, and later when I start to fall asleep with my head on the window
and girl is sitting solid-still in the up-close of the middle seat
it hits me hard in the half-breath before I go down,
hers must be the scent of all desert girls,
warmoil, that
distant                                                   water.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 33 | Summer 2011