Things on the Side of the Road

Martina Litty

Traffic cones, construction workers, a sign 

illegible on a tree, dead branches, dead deer,

dead cats, dead dogs—dead animals that maybe

aren't dead yet—McDonald's wrappers, plastic bottles

and a used condom, and I think the end of a used

needle, too, and grass, dead grass, corn fields, street

signs, and maybe you, if my game of telephone

was right—if, through the telephone cords and

through the satellite signals and through the 

cellphone calls hopping over state lines, if,

through that, I got it right, if I have all my

information together, then, yes, once it was you,

and maybe her, maybe stacked on top of each 

other, maybe a few feet away but still in one

connected ditch, and maybe your mother found you.


The reality of you is warped in my head

from that brief game of telephone, but when I 

think of you, I think about your black glasses

and your hair tied tightly up—or maybe

splayed out, like a halo around your head, and

I imagine the grass yellowed and dead

even though it was the middle of summer.

Martina Litty is an undergraduate student studying Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Litty has won in the poetry category of the Dean Elinor F. Foster Poetry/Short Prose Contest twice, and she has been published in Witness: Appalachia to Hatteras, the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets and Student Poets series. She was the founding editor-in-chief of Torch Literary Arts Magazine, which won first place with special merit with American Scholastic Press Association for its first edition.