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Original Prose by Johnny Allen

The Dirt Road

2am, stepdad busts into my room. 2am he’s hammering on my door. Never lock your door, this is my house. No locked doors in my house. Get dressed. Load two shovels into the truck. We are driving, my head heavy with sleep, two shovels clanking in the back of his red pickup truck. 2 miles down the road to a private construction site, private property, no trespassing, but we do. With shovels in hand we begin loading gravel into the truck, arms heavy with sleep and before long heavy with the strain of shovel after shovel, gravel piled high in the truck bed. Make it look like nothing was taken. Smooth over the lines in the pile. Back up the hill. We say nothing. The dirt road below us cracks under the tires. Unload it in the morning, he commands. Go back to sleep. But I don’t. I lie awake and dream of running away, hiding out with my friends the next town over. I don’t think he’d come looking for me. But he’d take it out on my mom’s body. So I stay. And lie awake in the bed, I think, that’s not mine, in the room that’s not mine.


The dirt road
Cracks under the tires
Two shovels roll
In the back of his old red pickup

We say nothing my head heavy with sleep
As we roll down the road to a sign that reads

We shovel
Until my hands start shaking
Smooth the lines
Make it look like
Nothing was taken

We say nothing my arms heavy with sleep
Two more miles back to a bed don't belong to me

And he says nothing
But "Go back to sleep"
I dream of running away
But he takes it out on your body

and private property
and private property
and private property
and private property

We say nothing
and we say nothing
We say nothing

Private property don't apply to me