“Empty Parking Lot, 2:07 a.m.”, “Checkpoint” and “Horripilation”

“Empty Parking Lot, 2:07 a.m.”, “Checkpoint” and “Horripilation”


Empty Parking Lot, 2:07 a.m.

over that hill, past the mills, is the crooked house I escaped from.

it wasn’t a great fall with the colors, mostly hunter green and rust with the rain.

like it was too depressed to go ahead and shine like it usually does.

now, it’s a sheet of white, the dying hidden.

catch snowflakes on my tongue, a cold smoky taste.

how winter feels on burning cheeks, how zero temps settle wild hearts.

weightless motes cascade down from the black & swirl around streetlights.

what I’m tasting is sky, pure dark sky, free from anyone.


up ahead on a dark back road there’s a mess of flashing lightsa neon checkpoint (or an

accident)drunk dizzy & shaking for mercy from the need to escape himthey’ll never

understandthe officer motions to roll down the window go ahead smell the vodka the beer

the rum the marijuana he smokeswaiting for the words please get out of the car but the

officer also sees the black streaks tattooing my cheeks & neckthe intense desperation to

please just let me go he asks if I’m okayI just want to go home, please let me

go home, I live two roads away, I’m fine, please don’t ask, just let me go that’s what you can do

for meand he waits a second and waves me on drunk as anything and crying to the place

in life where you can’t catch your breathglance into the rearview mirror watch as I go

we both know it was as bad as bad gets


in yards of raised ranches and colonials

the September light fools us

this autumn’s song is sunless

fear is a hallway, long, dark, and hot

fear is the chill in passing

someone is there on the other line—

what will we give you?

only eyes and feet and skin

to see to run to feelyou

in attics and backseats

night houses of beer and fire

climb onto the rooftops

to watch

there’s your face—

a disrupted shadow

the headlights of trucks

whiten your skin

like flashes of the past,


we dare you—

what is your name?

before your finger dials our numbers

to prepare for our last winter

About the Author

Jenn Powers

Jenn Powers is a writer and visual artist from New England. Her most recent work is published or forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, Jabberwock Review, The Pinch, and Calyx, among others. Please visit her website jennpowers.com.

Read more work by Jenn Powers.