Issue > Poetry
Richard D. Hartwell

Richard D. Hartwell

Richard D. Hartwell is a retired middle-school teacher living in Moreno Valley, California, with his wife, their disabled daughter, one of their sons and his ex-wife and their two children, and ten cats! Rick has had or will have articles, stories, novellas, poems, or memoirs published in Educational Leadership, English Journal, California English, Kappa Delta Pi Record, and The Voice, among others.

Cheyenne Morning

Leaving Felton in '73, falling asleep in the car just
Over the line into Wyoming after the long climb
Out of Salt Lake City. Waking up in white darkness,
Windows coated with the scud of high plains snow
Hushing the labored pantings of the long haul trucks.

Continuing on east toward a startled dawn at 5 a.m.
Stopping on the southern tip of Cheyenne about a
Quarter mile off the interstate to call back to Felton
Forgetting the time difference. Too early, or much
Too late, and she won't let me talk to the boy asleep.

Me in tears and her in rising anger until someone
Severs the connection. Pulling myself together enough
In the phone booth before I am exposed to those
Piercing eyes of cowboys and Indians loitering in the
Gas station with a phone booth on the bitter tongue of
Cheyenne, as the rest of my life tilts out of my mouth,
Southeast towards the Gulf of Mexico, with tastebuds
Knocked out by the wine and the cigarettes and the
Vomit of recriminations I just can't swallow back down.