Poetry Feature: “New Friends” by Scott Laudati

We saw the end of the sun some time ago

and I thought about California

and the palm trees that were still eating

and the girls in the sand 

and their hair in the wind

and how it didn’t matter to me anymore 

where the lightning bugs went

once the days cooled off,

or why old men never died like outlaws

if it’s what we all want.

Born alone.

Legacy always in question.

Life has a way of herding the useless together,

drafting us into a showdown 

that began

long before the dead had to 

explain their worth.

Bellies up.

No closure.

No kind words left behind 

for the kids.

We forgot a long time ago that

the world will keep rolling over

like it always has.

So we laugh at the snoring dogs 

shaking their jaws 

and running in place,

but now I wonder:

why are they the only ones 

who sleep deeply enough 

to dream?


I’d been locked up at my 

girlfriend’s parents’ house for a week

and all anyone could talk about

was a skunk that lived in the woods.

And every night I’d go outside

and stare into the trees

but I never saw anything.

The sun dropped,

the geese flew south,

and just as I was about to give up 

for the last time

a little skunk crawled out from 

under the shed.

I jumped up and waved at him 

and he looked back as friendly 

as any fat and free thing

and neither of us did much more

than that.

But then my girlfriend came 

out and screamed.

The skunk looked back like I’d 

betrayed him,

and as I watched his tail go up

I felt like I’d broken our bond too. 

I knew my girlfriend would get mad if 

I said it was her fault

so I cursed at the skunk

cursed at the trees

cursed my name

(never going for the one who deserved it),

hating everyone and everything

in this whole stupid world. 


Her mother made lasagna that night.

I left a plate out by the backdoor. 


Scott Laudati is the author of Camp Winapooka (Bone Machine, Inc.). Visit him on instagram @scottlaudati