Curtis Hayes

Western Charms

she asked me twice to go easy
but I kept gulping them down.
when I dragged her out to the dance floor
she laughed at first
and when it was time to
get out or be thrown out
we crossed a gravel parking lot
and I climbed into the passenger seat
without saying a word.
she had never driven my car before
it was old and big and Detroit-heavy.
slumped down low
I watched the boulevard lights
wash across her face.
she kept her eyes straight ahead
and gripped the wide steering wheel
with both hands.

she was wearing a thrift store bracelet
that dangled with
potmetal western charms.

I hardly think about her at all anymore.


Curtis Hayes has worked in sawmills, greasy spoons, and as a grip, gaffer, and set builder in film production. He’s been a truck driver, a boat rigger, a print journalist and a screenwriter. A Southern California native, he is a graduate of the California State University, Long Beach, Creative Writing Program and his poetry has been featured in Chiron Review, Trailer Park Quarterly, Cultural Weekly and other small presses and anthologies. His first full-length poetry collection, Bottleneck Slide, has recently been published by Vainglory Press.