The Letters Never Written In Response To Your Complaints

By Sophie Coats


The truck stop that sits half on Saint

Avenue and half in the land of dirt and slum

(according to the many letters you sent to the board)

has been there for one year existing quietly,

six feet from the school your son attends.


If you want to know more about the drug

problem permeating said school I’d check the boxer

shorts you keep washing. I’d check

the mattress, the drawers, the closet, his car,

his pupils, his blood that is half yours. I’d drive

past the playground, past

the school. I’d get out of the car.


When the gas gets stuck in your lungs can you taste it

on your tongue?  Two-dollar Monsters, his footprints left

on the ripped pavement behind the store of the truck stop.


(Is this what you wanted to know?)

There’s a song playing on the store’s radio.

You listen to Stairway to Heaven and you swear

you’ve heard it a thousand times before, it follows you outside where

you find school clothes covered in diesel fuel and snow.


Sophie Coats was born in Texas but raised a Jersey girl. Junior year of high school she traded out public school life for the boarding school experience at Interlochen Arts Academy, where she studies creative writing. She is now a senior. Sophie was awarded a Gold Key for flash fiction and a Gold Key for poetry in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and her work has appeared in the Red Wheelbarrow. She is currently co-Editor-in-Chief for The Interlochen Review.When most people are sleeping, Sophie can be found either reading under the covers with a flashlight or eagerly writing a story while trying not to keep her roommate awake. She writes a surprising amount about food.