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April 2019 Vol. 15 No. 1

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Anna Cates

The Highway

As a child, at a friend’s house, un-chaperoned, we’d snack on convenience foods: Ritz crackers or a spoon of peanut butter with marshmallow fluff. We’d walk to the country store to cash in beer bottles for candy. I’d choose a 3 Musketeers, and she, peanut butter cups.

We gazed into the mercurial Magic 8 Ball, reading our fortunes. No boys were allowed in our girls’ club.

Cheap blue eye shadow, bought at a yard sale, smeared across my eyelids, I told my friend one day that I planned to run away and live in in the forest behind our farm. And would she kindly bring me "cheese food" (imitation cheese slices) so I wouldn’t starve alone in the woods? She told me frankly no, as if she found the idea of running away ill-advised.

Today, I still harbor a trace of escapism.

long day –
the chinchilla's tongue
on the salt wheel