Judy’s cousin had a bottle roll
underneath the driver seat

directly under the brake pedal
and everything crashed yet the glass bottle

remained intact which is how
they knew what had happened.

In this was something alive
with horror. It was the iced tea bottle

Judy bought a few weeks ago at the gas station.
The two of them had been driving

somewhere important at the time
though she now forgot where they had

been headed though she tried periodically
to remember but couldn’t.

Judy had a bad habit of leaving
finished drinking receptacles in her own car

and obviously had carried over that habit
into her cousin’s car and now her cousin

was dead because of it though
she was somehow able to pretend

that it wasn’t the case. Though she did
stop buying that brand of ice tea

and instead bought a different brand
that came in a plastic bottle she didn’t like

as much though it was cheaper
and she used this fact as justification

rather than admit the real thing,
soon the presence of ice tea seemed everywhere

on billboards out waitresses’ mouths
and it became almost too heavy handed

she started to wonder if there might
be an architect to life who received some type

of satisfaction out of skillfully-charted torture
she wondered if the same end would have reached her

had she not prematurely switched
ice tea brands and if instead her own

collection of glass ice tea bottles would have
continued to accumulate in her own car,

as when a child in summer she would pull up plants
from the soil outside making sure

to capture their roots she would replant them
into containers and water them slightly

and then place them in the dark basement
checking each day to see how they withered

and in this way she started to understand
the importance of the common sun and it was only

when she told this to someone that she realized
this was no different in a way to that of the stereotypical

neighborhood boy who watches to see
how animals like cats will die when

life is taken from them. She wondered if she had
caused the accident in some way as echo of past

trained desire. It was ten years later
when she finally told someone about the glass bottle.

She wasn’t sure what prompted
such a confession, what had changed in the weather

of the situation to signal something like rainfall.
The person she told didn’t know what to say.

Oftentimes, we forget to imagine the limits
to how the person we admit something to

might respond. So, again she was careless
by default, by just doing

what came natural, thirsty, always, with
always the following hunger to tell.

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KATE LINDROOS lives in western Massachusetts. Her chapbook, The Costume of a Hunter, is out now from Factory Hollow Press. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in jubilat, Sixth Finch, Barrow Street, Permafrost, Cover, Big Big Wednesday, Sugar House Review, and Weekly Gramma.