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Alan King

July 22, 2013

Sucker Punch


Two cars smashed together—
a silver Chrysler 300 and blue Taurus.
Grills locked like bucks collided
in a highway game of chicken.

All around them: police cruisers, a fire truck,
the EMTs carting away a small body.
You’re heading home on a two-lane highway
to surprise your wife with the gluten-free
hazel nut cake and vanilla ice cream.

But the centipede of brake lights, rippling
pass the guard rail glowing from pink flares,
says you won’t get home before dessert
puddles in the Styrofoam.

The Chrysler driver is a teen the troubled
airwaves paint as some punk too cool
for the 50 mile speed limit. You’ve known desire
to be as reckless when your heart was
an unlocked Camry with keys in the ignition.

That’s how Kim had every dude in high school.
Her wild cherry-glazed lips, t-shirt awning her
flat tummy, and her booty in onion skin jeans
made the toughest brothas grin and wave
when she called their names.

And there you were, a coupe idling
with its door ajar. You were a joyride
she’d enjoy before bouncing
to another set of wheels.

You were her lunch time ATM
before the promise of being straddled
by her strong thighs had you
zipping your dad’s car across town.

That’s when impulse, desire’s engine,
roared inside you, the way it rumbled inside
the young driver—punching the gas
to overtake the limping Caravan
before the Taurus slammed him.



Alan King is an author, poet, and journalist that lives in the DC metropolitan area. He writes about art and domestic issues on his blog at In addition to teaching at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, he’s also the senior program director at the DC Creative Writing Workshop, a Cave Canem Fellow, an alumnus of the VONA Workshops sponsored by Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation, and a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Low-Residency Program at the University of Southern Maine. He’s a two-time Best of the Net nominee and was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Drift (Aquarius Press, 2012) is his first book.

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