Coming to Terms

Katie Darby Mullins

Katie Darby Mullins

I remember laughing at his jokes;
but as we watch the news,
I lie to you, “I barely
knew him.” One fall afternoon,

Mark said, “What’s one class
going to hurt?” We snuck to his
truck parked across the street.
It was new—at least to him—
and he was new to driving stick.
We stalled all the way to the lake,
laughing. The smell of him

haunts that memory, still; it was
going to rain. I sat on the hood
of his Chevy S10, hoping the
dirt would come off of my white
skirt later. Heavy drops fell, and
I hopped back inside while Mark
paraded, triumphant, in the weather.
He grinned, but I sensed he was
disappointed in me, predictable as
always. He drove me back to school.

I had a crush on him then, and
even though that was so many years
ago, that’s what made me throw up
last night at dinner, after hearing he
was arraigned. That’s why I can’t
agree when you say he must have been
“born bad,” or “Thank God he’s off
the streets.” And when I cry,
I hope you think I’m crying for the
boy he killed, probably
in cold blood, and not for him.

1 Comment

  1. I absolutely love this poem. We’re so quick to assume so much about people and their past based on their actions. Just because someone does something terrible, it doesn’t mean they have always been terrible. It’s alright to cry for the past and the person that they used to be. The last few lines really got me and when I read this poem to a friend she was rendered speechless. Excellent job!

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