Justin Howerton
​Image by Mathias Reding on Pexels                                                                                        
Justin Howerton  is an observer first and a poet second. An alumnus of Lewis & Clark College, he graduated in 2022 with a double major in English (Poetry Concentration) and Mathematics/Computer Science. A reluctantly gentle Southerner who writes about masculinity, memory and movies, Justin can be found swimming during the summer and driving all year round. He can be contacted at [email protected]


Tired of considering manhood, I take my shitty car to get fast food 

Let’s pretend you’re someone else I whisper
to my champagne camry before getting in: a lifted pick-up

truck or an expensive foreign coupe. I say the same thing
while stroking my neckbeard in front of the vanity.

Will these bottle cap earrings compromise my grim?
What about black nail polish? Too heavy-handed?

You never thought to think so. That night—the first and only time I’ve had a co-captain. 
The light pollution peeking in through the windshield like a flood of voyeurs

as I let my mustache pins tickle your chin. I tell myself I’d never do that again, and I really haven’t—took too much of that mediocre powder 

cut with flour after you dared me to go for thirds. We were just friends happening alone. Now just me happening alone, recalling your sasquatch legs as I finger the knots in my hair. 

From the driver’s seat I spot the burn streak on the frayed ceiling
where your joint bristled the top towards the end of the shape we made—

the ash afterwards coating the dirty floor. I didn’t bother to blow it away. It got everywhere. 
I still massage the carpet with my socks 

looking for specks that will mark me as yours. And you apologized as if all along you intended to forget, and I thought of Caesar crossing the Rubicon,

which reminded me of Rubik’s cubes, the tricky puzzles I never had any luck with. 
Too many colors to decide where to start. 

Let’s pretend I’m someone else I recite in the rear-view mirror.
The pretty woman at the drive thru window slides her number between

the fries & burger combo. I never call, but I keep the napkin in my wallet,
on the off chance that one day I’ll be someone who would.






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