Terri Muuss


I promise mom I’ll be

home before the street lights & she

says You’d better. You know your father.

I pop in a rectangle of Hubba Bubba

flood my mouth with syrup & hop

on two-wheeled freedom. In this polyester

neighborhood, Buicks are pulling

in for evening showers

& TV dinners while I pickpocket

the last week of summer

for crickets & cloverleaf to shove

into red cut-offs. Here, construction

drum-beats pound the sky flat

as aluminum, its clouds—bruises

on the shin of dusk. I taste time

speeding away so I pedal standing

to cross the car-swarmed

avenue, pump legs toward the abandoned

field between houses, mother

still at home in work clothes & grey

flats with scuffed toes, cheap

black pearls swinging over

the stove-top while

she makes my father

pork chops. He laughs

at Archie berating Meathead,

says my mother is a dingbat, too

& I should have asked if I could

help her set the table before—

squeeeeeeeeaaalll—a BMW

then pop &

I am on the pavement

staring at the bent metal

rim of my bike & spaces between clouds.

Someone is screaming. Maybe it is me—

or it could be the woman from a town without

train whistles & knee-high lawns who is pacing

the length of a car my father

calls a fucking yuppie mobile

saying Holy shit, I didn’t…

you came from nowhere I didn’t


see you.

The wad of gum

looks like the inside of a cheek.

The woman in Gucci

heels asks Jesus, kid, are you okay?

as my blurred vision sets

on the street lights.  I hop on wobbling

metal, say Yeah, I’m fine. I have to go

& speed home, grinding against warped

wheels, making absurd

promises to God. The moon

begins to rise over my shoulder

like a giant mistake.

TERRI MUUSS is a social worker, director, performer, speaker & author whose poetry has received four Pushcart and two Best of the Net nominations. She has two collections of poetry, Over Exposed (JB Stillwater) and godspine. (3:A Taos Press) www.terrimuuss.com