Most of That Life

Photo: © Stefan Hengst. All rights reserved.

The day was easy. I gave Sue ten bucks for gas
but most of that life was free, a bowl of gleaned apricots.
We were sassy and tussled with any boy behind any bar.
We wore second-hand jeans, scuffed clogs.
We weren’t scared or tired. We didn’t call home.
We tied our dirty hair back with dirty rubber bands.

We drove for hours to hear somebody’s boyfriend’s band
play in a blazing field of chamomile.
We stripped down to jump in the lake
then stood on shore drying out, silently admiring
each other’s breasts and farmer’s tans.
We didn’t have towels or children or jobs, to speak of.

Most of that life was safe. You could drive off with strangers.
One boy at the wheel, the other holding you tight as a seat belt.
We sat in the sulfur hot springs, watching the steam and deer.
They delivered me home at dawn with a kiss to the forehead,
a highway map to Colorado. All of that life was scraps,
a half-second flash of light on one small square of film.

Jennifer L. Hollis is a writer, music-thanatologist, and the author of Music at the End of Life: Easing the Pain and Preparing the Passage (Praeger). Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Progressive, and other publications. She was a 2018 finalist for the Breakwater Review‘s Peseroff Prize Poetry Contest. You can find her online at

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Issue 7

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