Carnegie Mellon University

"Route 28" by Becca Stanton

Honorable Mention for High School Poetry

We drive to Sonic and she tells me secrets
that she’s never told anyone else.
She oozes statements and drips conversation.
I measure the calculated words that slug
up my throat and slip off my tongue.
Old stories from when we went to school together,
memories relived from when she didn’t love me.
I can’t get comfortable in the way she speaks
so effortlessly.

She parks the car and turns to face me,
hand resting on the steering wheel,
lips balancing a straw between her teeth,
and we talk about what makes me tick. 
She looks at me, dark eyes outlining
the features of my face,
like she’ll be there for me when I need her.

My back sinks into the bucket seat.
I tell her everything she wants to know.
Where I was born,
who I love more than her,
and why my mother doesn’t call her Honey.
She watches me across the console,
fed, serious and silent,
the corners of her mouth salty.

Under the streetlights her eyes shine like gloss.
We are both seventeen, too young to face the consequences
that wait for us back home. 

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