Tuesday Night

By Corrie Lynn White

Featured Image: Madison Square, Snow by Allen Tucker, 1904
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

I lay the sweet potatoes on
the roasting pan on their backs
or bellies—I can’t tell. The oven
is heating and the cat box

needs cleaning so I dip the plastic
shovel into the litter and grieve
that Frankie doesn’t go outside—
sit high in a tree or roll in

a lush patch of clover. I stare
out the window at the neighbor’s
raised beds and convince myself
he’d eat all their basil, puncture

the flesh of their first red tomato,
then run far away. What keeps us
where we are? I throw the plastic
bag of clumped urine into the bin

by the road and look down a few
blocks for a sunset. The sky is pink
past the stoplights. Nothing in nature
is as sudden as turning off the lamp

at night. Inside, I push the pan
into the oven and remember the guy
in my class today who said:
People don’t feel strongly anymore.

Feel strongly about what? I wonder.
Truth? Lemonade? Later, on Wheel
of Fortune, the contestants try
to spell a phrase. I spoon buttery

potato into my mouth when the bearded
high school teacher from Kansas City
solves by calling out: “Stop what you’re
doing.” I freeze and watch him,

laughing in victory, slide into
the front seat of his new Chevy
Malibu and hold the wheel like he’s
headed some place no one can see.

Corrie Lynn White’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Oxford American, Mid-American Review, Best New Poets, and Nelle, among other places. Originally from Gold Hill, North Carolina, she currently works as a transportation journalist in Chattanooga, Tennessee and was named a 2021 artist fellow by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Originally appeared in NOR 17

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