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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 3: May 2020
Poem: 160 words
By Kevin Ridgeway

Freedom’s Just Another Word
for Nothing Left to Lose

My girlfriend and I used to picnic 
on the rugby field of Pomona College 
where the man who wrote my mother’s 
favorite song was victorious in his athleticism, 
an overachiever who freed kindred spirits 
like her onto the open highway 
with the love of her life on a high-speed 
gypsy chase to prove to the naysayers 
her love for my father would last forever 
as she belted out the pain she conquered 
in the vibrato of her epic voice. 
She blew my friends away 
when she rocked the fuck out 
of that song and I listened 
to it with everyone else 
at her funeral, 
when she was gone 
followed shortly after 
by my girlfriend, 
but that rugby field is still there 
and the songwriter’s an old man 
whose music transformed 
my mother into a champion.

Kevin Ridgeway
Issue 3, May 2020

is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press). Recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, Cultural Weekly, Literary Orphans, Main Street Rag, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Spillway, The American Journal of Poetry, The Cape Rock, and Trailer Park Quarterly, among many others. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.

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