You made me cry on the school bus. Row two, window seat. I never truly knew what made the tears come fast and heavy. Maybe it was your awful motorcycle jacket, the one with the silly Mickey Mouse patched on the back, or maybe it was when you put your hand on my knee and squeezed. While I burned like gasoline, you made me promise to meet you beneath the bleachers that afternoon. I never did tell. What I did do was take lovers like you. Rest of my life. Lean, quiet men with gentle hands and sad, kind eyes. The snap of them made my heart break. Like yours broke, shot down in the rushing faraway jungle. Our last kiss, you held me like I was going out of  style. The homecoming crowd thundered above us. Popcorn, peanuts rained down through the slatted seats. I listened as you said we already had our home. We could be us anywhere. But young, we were young. Too young. And promises beneath bleachers never amount to anything. Only the weight of bodies atop empty beds. Stretching an arm out for a memory that won’t shut up.



Jules Archer likes to smell old books and drink red wine. Her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, >kill author, Pank, The Butter, Foundling Review, and elsewhere. She writes to annoy you at