driving on 676 | by Allison Casey

and the clouds are a rustle of satin

or    they’re cream that’s been over-whipped
There are no peaks
you’re gonna have to start over

No    sorry the clouds they’re more the folds of her skirt
that white dress she wore
Halloween Marilyn Monroe
that glow-white hair I helped bleach
to halo in Eastern Pennsylvania autumn
breaking from frats and crowds original wood-flooring carpeted
with booze

that rickety porch was backway ballroom in war-boom new york where she and I could both raise our hems and hem our hair and pull on pearls and pass a cigarette in brick alley. tilt our heads together so her bottle blonde highlighted my fawn brown. lips brushed, her bottle red printed my softshell pink.

But    maybe too the clouds could be
the way she would wrinkle cigarettes
That’s right they’re definitely the wrinkle of the cigarette
she pinched them funny and I watched the way she watched the cigarette’s flare
passed it to me with patchy kisses left on the filter
from Marilyn-red lips and then looked up
Perfectly-peaked clouds because in that Pennsylvania valley at the end of October
it snowed

that snow was curtains in glossed-up hotel top floor where she and I could both raise our glasses, wrists blending and effervescence invading lungs, bubbling up giggles in the negligée corners. bend heads to shoulders, angle elbows to frazzle updos, undo makeup. Fingertips brush, stockings falling on bare legs.

Maybe the clouds are the quiet of going out every week
not healing anxiety
coursing through bones
not making her love me
    but at least
It was quiet

No    sorry the clouds are her smile
like home, hanging over my head
just like the clouds over the 676 offramp to this city
people claim is broken
has built its picked bones to home for me



Allison Casey (@agentallie_) is a current MFA candidate in the Rutgers University — Camden creative writing program. Her main concerns include cats, caffeine, and communing with The Void as a sentient being.