The sign outside the abandoned storefront
says thank you for your service to notify their death.
The car stalls. My dad lied when he said
he knew how to drive a stick—
said he’d decide, on his own,
where we’d end up next.
Look, I told him, if you feel alone in this:
Go talk to the apple orchards in Pennsylvania
in the hills, on the fields
where the roads curve up and out and away.
You’ll go on the last day and
the fruit is falling, rotten,
rolling to the wind that bites into your arm
and what colors you hope to find are silhouettes.
The wagons will be stuck and will
remind you of snow sleds, big coats,
of childhood, birth and death again.
Things just end up turning into free firewood,
negative returns, a murky display of pumpkins.
Steven Aliano is a northern New Jersey-based writer. He received his B.A. in Communications from Ramapo College of New Jersey, studying under the likes of Valerie Wilson Wesley, Benilde Little, and James Hoch. He is the former founder and editor-in-chief of Birch Gang Review and will challenge anyone to a game of basketball, Connect Four, or Burnout Revenge.