stevie fell out

By RON WHITEHEAD

POETRY FINALIST

there were more than 20 of us piled crammed
squeezed front and back i was sitting on

mama’s lap my brother brad was sitting
on my lap granddaddy was at the wheel

speeding up matanzas road to centertown
when the old ford swerved in the sharp

crow nose curve the back passenger door
popped open and stevie fell out when

granddaddy finally heard the backseat
voices yelling then screaming stevie fell out

stevie fell out the tires burned rubber skidding
as granddaddy slammed on the brakes

luckily it was autumn stevie brushed leaves
off his clothes and out of his hair as he

crawled out of the ditch then raced to the
car which he dove into head first thankful

to be alive and not left behind granddaddy
yelled somebody hold on to that boy

as tires squealed burning rubber again
the car filled with several generations

flew into the night

 

Ron Whitehead is a poet, writer, editor, publisher, organizer, scholar, and professor. He grew up on a farm in Kentucky and attended the University of Louisville and Oxford University. He is the recipient of numerous state, national, and international awards and prizes, including The All Kentucky Poetry Prize, The Joshua B. Everett Oxford Scholar Award, English Speaking Union Oxford Scholarship, and The Yeats Club of Oxford’s Prize for Poetry. Whitehead’s works have been published internationally in a diverse range of publications from Northwestern University’s Triquarterly to the Czech Republic’s Artforum to Japan’s Blue Beat Jacket to England’s Beat Scene to Louisana’s Southern Review and New York City’s Tribe magazine.


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