Poems and flash fiction in The Voice are presented in collaboration with Nimrod International Journal at The University of Tulsa. For more information about Nimrod, visit nimrod.utulsa.edu.
A bicycle ride to Utica Square
The boy balances a shoeshine kit on
the handlebars. He can make four dollars
in a day shining oilmen’s boots and they
tip well, too. He’ll buy a Tulsa World for
them to read while standing, one foot up
on his shine box, then the other. One will
whistle through his teeth and do a soft
aw-haaww of a Bob Wills swing song,
and another will roll his pants up and
say, “Polish the whole boot, son.” On
the way he sees the coveted bb gun at
the hardware store. Three seventy-nine
will leave twenty-one cents for a
chocolate root beer at the drug store.
When he’s an oilman, he’ll hand the
kid a dollar and say, “Keep the change.”
Guinotte Wise is the author of the short story collection Night Train, Cold Beer, and his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals, including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Southern Humanities Review, Rattle, and The American Journal of Poetry. He lived in Tulsa until the age of fifteen and begged his parents to leave him there when they moved. He now resides in Kansas.