Featured: Damien Cowger, Thursday Night in College Town

Thursday Night in College Town
Damien Cowger
Franklin Avenue is alive
with creeping night crawlers
trolling the jaundice-washed asphalt.
Everyone wants to fuck or fight
everyone else, trying to out-do the next person
in either case. The heirs of newfound freedom
take boisterous voices and blend them
with dark shades
of parentless weekends
and loans upon loans
spent on cheap beer and plastic cups.
Ping pong balls swirl
in a whirligig night, the sky orange,
the baseball hats askew,
the leggings gripping hard, separating sex-
starved minds and bodies
from each other by thin fabric
as synthetic as the moment itself.
So vulnerable and energetic, and they do everything
to perpetuate this audible madness,
while I’m upstairs staring at a belly
at rest and thinking of all that is
to come. Trying to reconcile that those outside
were all closed up in a small space
once, and that their fathers were also once
within themselves, hoping that they were
bringing their children into a world
that is different from Franklin Avenue
and that the yelling will stop
once they can speak.
Damien Cowger’s work has appeared in various journals including The Southeast Review and The Rumpus. He is a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets nominee, and lives in Harrisburg, PA with his daughter, Amalie, and his wife, fiction writer Ashley Cowger. Damien is the Managing Editor of New Ohio Review. For more info, please visit damiencowger.com.