November 28th, 1982

Blake A. Hoena


[Table of Contents]
[Editor's Note]

A porch light stretches the shadow
from a ceramic deer
                                        to the bank of snow
along Airline Road. Ankle deep caves
lead from pavement
                                        to a boy, huddled
within the shadow. His hands are cramped
in pockets, chest laid against thighs
as he bites the fold
                                        of denim and flesh
that covers one knee to keep his teeth
from chipping. Yellow doors stand beneath
the porch light, closed. He felt their bolt
lock two miles back
                                        down Airline Road
between a white pine and his mom’s
yellow Volkswagen Bug.

A ton of steel, FM radio, and jasmine scented
air freshener couldn't protect him from acne
or turning sixteen, too fast, on a small, frost
covered patch of asphalt.
                                        He shifts on legs
numb with cold and lack of blood, checks
the carton of eggs at his feet that Mom
asked him to get—not one broke.

Movement hurts. Grief and fear crack
inside him, ache
                                        with his mother’s voice
echoing, responsibility, in his head. Its weight
crushes him, pushes him further and further
into the deer's shadow
                                        and snow covered yard
until the cold soaks through his skin and melts
against his chest.

                                        From the bay window
above the porch light, tan curtains open
and his mother's breath fogs the glass
as she worries about a son who borrowed
the car
                                        for the first time.



"November 28th, 1982" originally appeared in the December 1997 issue of the Mankato Poetry Review.


Blake A. Hoena's parents moved throughout small-town Wisconsin before settling in Plover, which is the setting for this poem, and is in part the reason why he started to write. Writing and reading made him look busy enough on those cold, windy winter days so that his mom didn't tell him to go outside and play. He received his BA from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and his MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Currently he works as an editor/author for a children's nonfiction book publisher in Minnesota. A selection of his writing won the 2000 Robert Wright Award, and he has published work in several literary journals including North Coast Review, Minnesota River Review, Beacon Street Review, Mankato Poetry Review, and Potpourri.