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Kevin Prufer – The Mean Boys

Kevin Prufer
The Mean Boys

The mean boys beneath the Exxon light off Route 64
had quick eyes
and pockets full of dollar bills, like secrets, they’d stolen.

Their pickups on idle, radios going, hands pale in the glare
like moths—at their lips,
at their snowy hair, touching the pickups’ fenders.  Mean and thin,

laughter too loud for the highway on a Sunday night, for the snow
like flecks of sad gray paint
peeling down over Glenmont, Ohio, and the rest of town at their televisions.

The moon was a bright wreckage that fell over the rock quarry
where the mean boys’ fathers
worked all day.  Fell over the roofs of trailers, over the frozen

river, where no one saw it come down.  The mean boys didn’t care.
Their feet were strewn
with broken glass, arms bruised at the shoulders, cigarettes

curled into their sleeves.  This was long ago.  I pass here some nights
but the lot is always empty.
No quick jab to the arm, or hoot and flung beer bottle.  Where are

the mean boys now?  The snow has painted the town away,
and I miss the flash
when they opened their mouths to laugh.  Their perfect white teeth.

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