Places I’ve Hidden from Cops
Tim Tomlinson

in scrub oak and scrap pine near the bridge on
Woodville Road where cars sometimes got clocked by
fist-sized rocks cracking into their windshields;

alongside the beach in the prickers
and poison ivy thickets among the ticks
and the chiggers, the State Troopers’ boots

crunching the sand, their flashlight beams slicing
the darkness I breathed; off the port side
of a sailboat moored at a Charles River

marina, my fingernails digging
into runnels, my high-tops soaked
to the ankles in slow current;

beneath a Dodge Dart; beneath the cover
of a pool still filled in October,
my hallucinating eyeballs level

with the thick black soles of a cop’s
clodhoppers; in the sacristy of
a chapel left unlocked by my brother,

an altar boy; in the kitchen, on my
knees beneath the counter, behind my
mother who blocked the kitchen door and said

he’s with relatives in Alabama;
on the kitchen floor of a Beacon Hill
walk-up, on filthy linoleum while

half-crazed coeds in yellowed underwear
freaked out on acid beneath the bare light
bulbs and a man called Preacher whose jersey

advised us to Be Cool peered through blinds;
behind a high school graduate who showed
his National Honor Society

identification to prove that we
couldn’t possibly be the ones who did
whatever it was we were accused of;

on top of a school bus
that lumbered over speed bumps
in the school drive and stopped

near the wall we jumped onto and
scattered into the woods on the hill
leading up to Suassa Park

where the girls we loved ignored us;
in the cold; in the dark; up trees and
down holes and now behind smiles

and clever diction and five-dollar words
and the knotted ties that rest on the cage
of my ribs over my criminal heart.

Tim Tomlinson is co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. He currently resides in London, where few people know he’s American until he opens his gob. His favorite word is “mither.” He is the fiction editor of the webzine Ducts, and recent stories and poems appear or are forthcoming in Pif, DOGZPLOT, Medulla Review, Lunarosity, and 3:AM.