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ZOE MAYS | Boombox Goodbye

Offered the opportunity to walk with the classic rock station

in the county fourth of july parade, I said yes. There was a float,

and I walked alongside, handing–not throwing–candy to children.

There were no kissing sailors, although did you know

she didn’t even know that guy. Her fist is literally clenched

in self-defense. History’s cutest sexual offense. Twice in my life

cops have caught me publicly fucking, but two white girls

could get caught doing worse and be fine. They find you fisting

grass up by its roots, and only walk away embarrassed.

Like a dad too soft to say shape up or kiss this boombox

goodbye. The parade route crested the historic downtown,

ending one mile from its start. Cold water sold for a dollar

from a golf cart. Tractor music blasted for attention.

There were no spectators for the walk back, just melting

face paint. Skin streaked pink, butterflies dispersed in sweat.

The shitty candy left for dead. Men on sidewalks often say hey

you want a threesome? and phrased that generically,

the technical answer is yes. But all we answer is falter

in our conversation. Quick recovery is a skill

you learn early. In fact, the loss of my virginity ended

with a park ranger and a megaphone. It went down

exactly how it sounds. Like a movie, I had leaves in my

hair the next day at school. Too ecstatic to have showered.

To have had two cautious fingers inside of me.


Zoe Mays is a grad student at The Ohio State University whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Southern Indiana Review, Little Patuxent Review, Passages North and elsewhere.


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