Sixteen 1954*

Sky-high for his debut

on the varsity,

doubling in his father's

Starfire Olds convertible,

he pulled the glass for gas

to "W-w-what'll you have?"

His surprised "F-f-fill it up"

ricocheted against his face:

"G-g-get out of here."

In the crabbed confusion,

icy October air flushed

his vision shut

while the hydromatic drive

propelled them over the curb

amid a backseat cacophony

of catcalls, and the stiff

silhouette of the brunette

sophomore riding suicide.

Jerome L. McElroy


*The South Carolina Review (accepted November 2001).