the night you kept getting higher and higher with someone else at the party, surrounded by all our friends, I jumped off a bridge—not to be melodramatic, just to show you I could have fun too.
I’m in class reading Hamlet and contemplating suicide on a cliffside. Reciting poetic verses about family curses and hiding behind a curtain with a knife. My phone buzzes, and I lean forward to read something out of a Shakespearean tragedy. She killed someone. The words glow like the flame of a lit match and I spring from my desk chair, repelled by their heat. Faces swivel toward me, judgement radiating from their eyes. I’m an injured animal at the center of a swarm about to be mauled by my own pack. My heartbeat radiates in my ears: glove to a
MAGICIAN’S HAT You find an upside-down magician’s hat on a table. It’s made of velvet, smooth as moonlight between your fingers, and a stripe, broad and white, wraps around its base. No one’s around. The first thing you pull out is a wand. Next, a deck of fresh cards. Pigeons and rabbits who disappear into the dark corners of the room. These are ordinary things you’d expect to find in a magician’s hat, nothing too surprising. So, you keep pulling and pulling, magic trick after magic trick, until things finally begin. The twenty-fifth item is a red Starburst, followed by
the woodhouses “greensleeves” floats through the halls of the high-rise & stops in for the showing. the new tenants are young & comely. they pay no mind to the plea of the piano or the hospital stretcher rounding the corner. the woman’s blonde hair curls inward at the ends, teasing the tip of her heart-shaped face. the man wears a powder blue linen suit & slaps her ass while the realtor isn’t looking. they each excrete a gasp when they see the living room. they make a show of admiring the antiques, the burgundy drapes. they take a thoughtful glance
Maybe you’re off the highway, cleaning out the deep fryer at a bowling alley in a college town in Virginia, the alleged state for lovers. You’re a boy in jeans and a Fresh Prince t-shirt, a short apron splattered with an eagle rising from a pool of blood. Townies and good ol’ boys order deep-fried chicken wings, burgers, nachos with canned cheese sauce the color of cantaloupes. They heehaw, drunk on Buds and Jim Beam, high on the split they just picked up in the last frame. You cringe with each dropped “g,” but we’re all dying, anyway. You’ve dropped
Apocalypse Needs a More Exciting Plural Form Proposition One: The plural form of apocalypse isn’t nuclear fallout, environmental degradation, contagions, Horseman, acts of God, or St John’s Revelations. Instead, it sounds more like a woman fleeing in broken counterpoint to the screech of subway brakes and takes the shape of a fist slamming through a wall two inches from a child’s head: finales too small for the tabloid headlines, too colossal for folding away between pages, out of sight. *** The train didn’t stop in time. They said she didn’t mean to die. Her husband thought, in front-page letters three