14 Lines for Vacancies 

by Matthew LaFreniere

We drive, my mother and I, down
Timberlake, not silent but not talking,
the neons of store signs and brake lights stark
in the late fall evening. Harley Davidson’s
she announces, as we pass it, to the car’s
stale air. Bojangles, she heralds, after
a few more stop lights, now with a lilt thrown
toward the vacancy of my expression.
I want to lash out, I want to throttle
the vapid projection her aging reveals,
this strange woman growing darker beside me.
She’s cold, so she asks me to roll up
the four-inch crack I lean toward. Her eyes
move slowly. Lowes, she says. Oooh, McDonalds.


Matt LaFreniere is a husband, father, teacher, poet—not always in that order. He is the author of Don’t Turn the Projector Off! (Unsolicited Press), and teaches English at the Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, VA. His work has appeared in Dunes Review, Main Street Rag, Pilgrimage Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Spry, and elsewhere.

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