Beat Georgia Yellow

thirteen boy born
noose-necked, just
pocket change, a
cedar closet bar.
says last, like a nine-whip:
this is my philosophy.
says bully: two to a seat,
says p-u- s- s- say, says
knuckle and bone to back
of neck, says no one say
a goddamn thing, says he’s
just body just look at him.

26 weeks early, born
like a penned-in bruise with
24 hours and shotgun lungs,
so pull, kid, pull straight through
to 13, lip-big, dixie-drift-eyed,
a little off, a little tripping cage,
a little too big and bent-in all
the backward ways of being.

and his father now, no
busted cheeks or sheets of
what-ifs or might’ves, just
the unmistakable hollow
of lost last name and the boy’s
swung-open closet door.
says he traded deer fence
and trigger-finger for big-
city mic, says, blood-eyed
with both shoulders reaching
at each other, says, like a man
trained with his hands,
my son is now thirteen, forever.


Alex Guarco graduated from Susquehanna University in May 2013. He now works for a book publisher outside of Boston and is an assistant editor for The Adirondack Review. His writing has most recently appeared in The Siren JournalThe Bakery, and Niche.