By Chris Carosi
Stations of the cross. Looking curiously at each painting of Jesus refusing help with the cross.
Fear way in the back of my mind that it’s me in the pictures (now you understand Catholic guilt, congrats). There were no handcuffs then, you’d get clamped in the open air. It’s weird that Jesus can’t even be a victim when the State is about to kill him. He feels bad that he doesn’t want to die. Never heard of anyone getting in trouble in Chippewa. Only a few bars with canopied trucks always there. A Ford, a Toyota, and a Dodge: three old horses by the IC Light sign on Darlington Rd., dreary twilight. The three tortured men. Winter branches casting varying shadows over the cars as the wind twists the weak trees around. S tells me that our old classmate Mike was a regular here; he died of a heart attack at age 33. I still don’t quite believe kids I knew did cocaine in this rural country as if the luxury of drinking underage wasn’t enough.
I finally saw a cop at Circle K while I was thinking about purchasing a copy of Club
International during my summer job cutting grass at the elementary school. Is their Chevy
impala painted white and black faster than my Aunt Sandy’s, which was a muted bronze? Was
she able to call the cops before her house burned down or was it a neighbor? Her arm had third-degree burns because she reached for the Molotov cocktail that was thrown at her feet. Fires on the local news flickering back at the splash, her arm, she threw it back.
I know where the stationhouse is. It was fixed on a bluff overlooking a car dealership, and it was always empty. One-story with brown cement walls. Past it, the woods extended into Ohio. Pennsylvania Route 51 turned into Ohio Route 14. East Palestine public pool with its cold spring water, and flat land where it seemed tornadoes happened often. In 7th grade, there were 14 tornadoes in my county on the same day and, impossibly, one that touched down on Mt. Washington. Sandy survived, but we never knew why someone tried to kill her.
The last tornado that had ever hit Beaver Falls was in the summer of 1985 before I was born. My mother, a few months pregnant, said she huddled in the cellar with my older brother (six-years-old) and older sister (one-years-old). All I could think about was my dad’s lineup of dumbbells blowing all around the room, clanging off the thin black poles that held the first floor up, and the I-Beam across the cellar ceiling, and my mother’s wrists. But the storm never made it to the house. The robins in the backyard still discuss it.
Chris Carosi grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh along the Ohio border. He is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Funerals and otherspublished by his micropress Inverted Church.