When I Was Seventeen

by a contributor

Andrea Rogers

there was a town the size
of a tornado, an unincorporated dot
on the map of the sky

there were trees and knives and
initials carving themselves there,
a rabbit and a fawn in the woods
on the screen

there was a cul-de-sac
with a name like a bad
Shirley Temple movie,

lined with condoms and beer bottles,
beacons beckoning to another world,
litter telling stories like an old sailor
with more time than teeth

back then I liked to think of sex
symbolically, in sexy similes,
like a car entering a car wash,

the soap spiraling down the body,
water working its way into crevices
the car never knew it had, lapping at
the mud flaps, undercarriage

I liked to think that afterwards, you’d come out shining,
gleaming like the hurt was never there,

the pain evaporating like dew
into the morning sky

Andrea Rogers is a musician and a Ph.D. Poetry student at Georgia State University. Her work appears in Odradek, The 11th Hour, and elsewhere. She and her band, Night Driving in Small Towns, have appeared in features by Rolling Stone and NPR.

See also: Andrea’s poem Ohio and her contribution to our 5 Things You Should Read series.