Dragging Through Kansas

Lauren looks numb. I think of her stomach and all the pills she had to swallow
on doctors’ orders. Once on the interstate, dragging through Kansas, a dark shadow flagged
me down and when I pulled over, I saw that it was an old friend.

But Lauren, somehow Lauren, she is the only friend
who hasn’t destroyed me. I hope she dreams of swallows
gathering into a single light and falling with that lightness, surrendered to the sky, a white flag

never tattered or chewed through. Perhaps someone will burn them, though, her flags—
she’s lost the art of finding corners, of framing friendless
nights into albums set to flame. She turns to me with that swallowing

stare and like the flagging friend that I am, I follow into her darkness, swallowed.

About the Author: Derek Graf born and raised in Tampa. His poems have previously appeared in Poydras Review, Sphere Literary Magazine, Thread Literary Inquiry, among other journals. He enjoys reading science fiction, French surrealist poetry, and listening to Cat Stevens. He plans to begin graduate school in the fa