Iowa Writes

JUSTIN HYDE
at a flea market in boone


the old man
in overalls
who sold me
a bowie-knife
with a compass
in the handle
asked if i wanted to
make ten dollars.

i stood
behind his van
with my shirt off.

he took
five or six
polaroids.

then he gave me
a twenty dollar
bill.

our secret,
he said.

i was only eleven
but i knew
how to keep
a secret.

the old man
in overalls
who sold me
a bowie-knife
with a compass
in the handle
asked if i wanted to
make ten dollars.

i stood
behind his van
with my shirt off.

he took
five or six
polaroids.

then he gave me
a twenty dollar
bill.

our secret,
he said.

i was only eleven
but i knew
how to keep
a secret.

that night
after mom left for work
and dad
went to the bar
i rode my bicycle
to mcdonald's.

i slapped the twenty down
ordered six cheeseburgers
and sat in a booth
in the far corner
watching traffic
up and down
lincoln way.

i took the knife
out of my backpack
unscrewed the handle
and put the change
in there.

i thought about dad
drinking himself
silly

and

mom working nights
so she wouldn't
have to be there
when he came home.

then i thought
about the
old man
in overalls.

i'd seen
into the back of his van
when he got the camera:

there was a
plastic milk gallon
half-full of piss.

a birdcage
with no bird in it.

it looked like
he slept back there.

he's probably
lonelier than me,
i thought to myself
which made me
feel better.

more

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


JUSTIN HYDE

Justin Hyde lives in Iowa where he works with criminals. More of his poetry and his first book can be found on his website.

Justin Hyde's website

This page was first displayed
on March 03, 2009

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