Trish Hopkinson


Suburban, but where
100 year-old homes creak
poor kids from their seams,

flaky paint facades and weedy
yards wait for stapled food stamps
to drop into the mailbox.

There should be religion here—
with a steeple on every corner
alongside a dime bag or a beggar.

Gospel is a thick fog, but only
spawns boredom in young people,
no matter how loud the sermon,

no matter how low parents set
the thermostat or how long they make
the bread and milk last,

it won't be enough to keep
a teen from looking elsewhere
for something that feels

whiskey in your belly good,
warm hand on your thigh good.
Something to squelch envy,

to take notice, to be different.
It's easy to sneak out
like lean gray mice

squeezing through a crevice,
pressing against the night—
go car-hopping, steal beer

and cigarettes from C-stores,
find glue or paint thinner or
gasoline to huff,

easy to coax a ride from
a mullet on a bullet bike,
easy to wrap legs around

a boy in the vacant lot,
easy enough that no other body
flinches when the kid

who lived in the mint-green
house on the south side
chokes on his tongue

and dies in his attic room
from a brain tumor.
Most of us knew him.

Some of us expect
to go the same way.

Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks, Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops, and has been published in several anthologies and literary magazines, including The Found Poetry Review, Chagrin River Review, and The Fem. Trish is co-founder of a local poetry group, Rock Canyon Poets. She is a product director by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures at

Current | Archives    Submit | Masthead    Links | Donate   Contact | Sundress