by Alex Schillinger
Slow down Hayley says slow down, you’re speaking too fast. She says she better sit down so you find a place to sit so the room and the world will stop spinning. It just happens to be a bed, and she laughs because you probably could have found a chair.
Slow down Hayley says take it slow and lays down next to you. You take it slow.
Slow down Hayley can’t find her skirt so you give her some pants and say you’ll find it later, but she’s gotta go. Slow down Hayley says thanks for the night, says she’ll give you a call, says she’ll see you real soon.
Slow down Hayley has a long walk home. You say, “Slow down Hayley,” you’ll take that walk. She waits, she walks back, she waits more. She says she didn’t expect to see you so soon, and you laugh. And she laughs.
Slow down Hayley leans in for a kiss, you say, “Slow down Hayley,” it’s only a walk. She settles for your hand, you settle for her hand. You say it’s cold out and pull her closer.
Slow down Hayley asks why you’re holding her so tightly, says it’s real late, says this is her, this is her.
Slow down Hayley is a small girl, she’s only a pound over a hundred, she’s not very strong.
Slow down Hayley pulls, she pulls, she pulls, she gets away, but can’t run very fast in your pants, in the dark, and when she’s just out of sight you say, “Slow down Hayley,” you’re gonna get hurt.
Slow down Hayley couldn’t feel your damage, she could only feel hers. She’d always hoped for someone to say, “Slow down Hayley,” but when you catch her she’s the one who screams, “Wait!”
Slow down Hayley, you’re moving too fast. Just hold on Hayley, this will be over soon.
Alex Schillinger graduated with a degree in English Linguistics so he refuses to speak, but that doesn’t stop him from defending those that do.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.