Cannot predict now

by Lyd Havens

The summers of my youth were friendless. I stole 
maraschino cherries from the bar my father 
worked at, hid in a booth and tried to knot the stems
with my tongue. He taught me how to use 
the dust mop. I switched the cue balls out 
for the 8’s. I traced my hand and tried to predict
my own future. The fries were burnt. Sandy 
snuck me Sprite in a shot glass. After clocking out,
my father drank too much. Ten more minutes. 
Twenty more minutes. Outside, the street signs 
melted; eggs fried on the sidewalks. Even then, 
I wore close to the bone. Stop being so antsy, 
my father said. I wanted to be an actress 
until I realized I can never veil my emotions.


Lyd Havens is the author of the chapbooks I Gave Birth to All the Ghosts Here (Nostrovia! Press, 2018) and Chokecherry (Game Over Books, 2021). Their work has previously been published in Ploughshares, The Shallow Ends, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. Lyd lives in Boise, Idaho, where they will graduate from Boise State University in December 2021.