Once I picked up a hitchhiker off
the side of the road. He said his name
was Francis. I was riding down I-40
through Memphis, on the way to Louisville
when I saw him walking along.
I have heard the horror stories
about picking up strangers,
but this man just looked like someone
in need. Once he was in the car,
he started telling me how he needed
to get to Nashville so that he could
see his momma one last time before
she died. His brother had called
the shelter that he stayed at and told
him that his momma was about to take
that walk up the stairs to heaven.
After about three hours I dropped
Francis off at a gas station that he said
was close enough to where he was going.
He stepped out of the car and yelled
back “God Bless” and started walking again.
I never saw Francis again, but I wonder
if he made it to see his momma. The thought
that I have after that is about his momma
and if she made it up those long stairs.
“Don’t forget to brush
your teeth!” I yell
up the stairs. I hear
the water turn on
and after two minutes,
turn off again.
I walk upstairs to tell
A short bedtime story,
a kiss on the forehead,
and then lights out.
I call his mother to remind
her to come pick
him up before eight tomorrow
morning. This causes
an argument because
apparently I don’t trust
her to remember anything.
I lay down in my bed, nobody
beside me tonight because
I have the boy. I love him,
but sometimes I wonder
how my life would
be if I had just worn a condom
Joshua Lyons graduated with a BA in English from Stephen F. Austin State University and is currently working on his MA in English. He plans to continue pursuing his education and to continue writing poetry and children’s stories.
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