November 28th, 1982
[Table of Contents]
A porch light stretches the shadow
from a ceramic deer
the bank of snow
along Airline Road. Ankle deep caves
lead from pavement
a boy, huddled
within the shadow. His hands are cramped
in pockets, chest laid against thighs
as he bites the fold
denim and flesh
that covers one knee to keep his teeth
from chipping. Yellow doors stand beneath
the porch light, closed. He felt their bolt
lock two miles back
between a white pine and his moms
yellow Volkswagen Bug.
A ton of steel, FM radio, and jasmine scented
air freshener couldn't protect him from acne
or turning sixteen, too fast, on a small, frost
covered patch of asphalt.
shifts on legs
numb with cold and lack of blood, checks
the carton of eggs at his feet that Mom
asked him to getnot one broke.
Movement hurts. Grief and fear crack
inside him, ache
his mothers voice
echoing, responsibility, in his head. Its weight
crushes him, pushes him further and further
into the deer's shadow
snow covered yard
until the cold soaks through his skin and melts
against his chest.
the bay window
above the porch light, tan curtains open
and his mother's breath fogs the glass
as she worries about a son who borrowed
the first time.
"November 28th, 1982" originally appeared
in the December 1997 issue of the Mankato Poetry Review.
Blake A. Hoena's parents moved throughout small-town
Wisconsin before settling in Plover, which is the setting for this poem,
and is in part the reason why he started to write. Writing and reading
made him look busy enough on those cold, windy winter days so that his
mom didn't tell him to go outside and play. He received his BA from the
University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and his MFA from Minnesota State
University, Mankato. Currently he works as an editor/author for a children's
nonfiction book publisher in Minnesota. A selection of his writing won
the 2000 Robert Wright Award, and he has published work in several literary
journals including North Coast Review, Minnesota River Review, Beacon
Street Review, Mankato Poetry Review, and Potpourri.