Haylee Millikan | ROAD CLOSURE

Road closure

Traffic slows around
the corner onto the Monroe
bridge if the music were
quieter we’d have heard the sirens
my friend says something about jumping
but my thumbs are already calloused
rubbing grief into the steering wheel.
As we pass I see her green dress
is embroidered her eyes wild
and white as a new moon,
strapped into the stretcher
but hands unbound, pleading.
Two officers in the distance
are laughing and I pray
it’s unrelated, over the stereo
I am barely hearing my friend say
this happens a few times every month
this happens a few times every month
I am lost already counting pills
recognizing those eyes as mine
from years ago frightened
as a trapped fox, unbearably seeing,
chunks of my own desire to die stuck
to me, this happens the same hand
I held, my favorite aunt and I
supporting each other down an icy path,
too held gun to temple,
squeezing tight. I return to the present
to some idle errand
but her hair was the same thick mass
my hands would find themselves in
and no amount of this happens
will place her hands in mine,
gently pleading the same plea,
no amount of this happens
can take away that small voice
that is inside me, screaming,
knowing what it is to want
an end to change.

Author’s Bio

Haylee Millikan is a poet originally from Spokane. Haylee’s work focuses on themes of intimacy, disability, being-and-becoming, the elusive concept of home, and is featured in Equinox, Litro, Beyond Words, Susie Magazine, Textploit, pioneertown., and others. They currently reside in Southern California with their two Flatbush rescue cats.