My name is Annie Grimes, and I am a senior studying creative writing and sociology at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR. I am the Associate Editor of my university’s literary magazine, Vortex, as well as a little library steward and book reviewer on my Instagram, @annieslittlelibrary.
Are You Doing Anything Later?
First published in Vortex, 2020
Come over and paint the white walls blue with me
then paint them yellow
then white again
We can turn on the T.V. in the background
Friends or Jaws or whatever is on rerun
I’ll tape off the crown molding and windows
and you can fill up the empty space
While the first coat is drying
we can ride bikes in circles around the driveway
go fishing in puddles
and watch the neighbors’ daffodils bloom from my backyard
While the second coat is drying
we can debate the appeal of the color yellow
play Uno and fold the laundry like origami
While the third coat is drying
we can joke about how little we accomplished
how I said come over and do something that is nothing with me
and you came
We can look at the white wall and laugh about
how no one else will know
Ode to My Dad
Calling Dad: 10:00 P.M.
The key is stuck, and yes I’ve tried jiggling it.
The car shuttered, dash lights flashing
like a rescue flare, then the whole thing went
kaput. The engine smells eggy. I googled it.
I think it’s the battery, Dad.
I know it’s late, but I was just going
to get a slushie from the gas station, I swear,
and then the entire vehicle betrayed me.
I have class in the morning.
Can you take me?
The Morning: 7:30 A.M.
Those little lights next to the time?
Those are there all the time.
Those are warning lights? Oh, okay.
Well, I don’t know, I’ve just been driving it.
Sometimes it beeps at me, the AC’s shot,
and the brakes are a bit squeaky, I guess,
but you know, it drives.
Well, yes, obviously not right now.
But it’s always been that way.
When something breaks down,
you come to take me the rest of the way.
You come to fix it.
I used to think it was take this life for granite.
Like the countertops we couldn’t afford
until we could afford them. Brown and black
and white speckled rock so heavy five men
had to carry it in, gingerly place it so not to squash
a finger or crack a cabinet. I used to think
a lot of silly things, and every time I remember
one of them I tell my dad so he can laugh,
see the little girl with missing teeth
and sunburnt skin again. I thought those camper
pulling cars were cars pushing campers.
I thought indecisive people were on defense.
On the fence, I know now. I don’t recall
when I learned the right way of things.
When the tree trunks stopped looking like faces
or when the creek by our house was no longer deep.
When the days slow down long enough,
when the grindstone halts and the present sits
wrapped up and waiting, I fish for misconceptions.
I like granite more and I want it back.
Something hard and heavy and unable to crack.