Father’s three girls born towheads.
We are worth our golden locks.
The darkening happens as we age,
our innocence combed from our hair.
This is how we are sacrificed:
ripe for picking when aged
enough to sit in the passenger seat,
the chosen one for the offhand
trip to the store. He leaves me in the car,
in the parking lot, tells me, “Lock the doors.”
Ten minutes later he returns with a twelve-pack.
I let him in the car, he turns key, engine noise,
then radio, then rip of cardboard and crack top of tab.
I become The Keeper. These are my instructions:
While he drives, rest the beer between thighs,
and two hands. Hand back to him when he wants
another gulp. When empty, crack a new one.
“Hold it down,” he says. And then, “You can have some
if you want,” meaning, he doesn’t want to drink alone.
Windows down. My hair, pulled back in a ponytail, does a violent
dance to mimic the buzz in my head. The condensation from the can
wets my fingers just enough to tame the fly-aways.
Melissa Holm holds an MFA from The University of Mississippi in poetry. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband Matt, her son Lyle, and a Labrador Retriever who can’t retrieve named Sula. Her poems have appeared in several journals including, The American Poetry Journal, Lunch Ticket, and The Southern Humanities Review.