Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

Featured Author

TRUE AND TOTAL

In flip-flops and borrowed pajamas, I sit on the boardwalk

licking egg off my wrists. I write like I eat

chipping thought into rhyme

with furious patience.

The page may as well be a list of words:

 

eaten by

and

, ruining the whites

you make me so angry I

put the key in the lock.

 

I squint; the cold sun erodes detail.

So begins the dubious project

of chasing myself down.

 

My right hand, seeking warmth, instead finds

the blue edge of a mussel

eaten by

the whitening sand. Later,

I bend over the sink, cursing: It hurts to wash

the drooling seam of skin.

I make a game from peeling Band-Aids

off the bathroom floor.

I dig a trench

and

watch the water fail to resolve it.

Reset, resent, repeat.

 

My iced tea starts to sweat.

Grain by grain, the sugar festers

, ruining the whites

and angering the breath

of my unclosing mouth. I bandage

the still-leaking second half of my sandwich

with a plastic shopping bag

rudely crumpling its profuse THANK YOU THANK YOU

      THANK YOU THANK

YOU

make me so angry I

can’t do a thing except stand there, shut and stupid

running yolk in one hand and

blue blade in the other

both palms pinched red.

Sunlight slams through the gap in the clouds

forcing me closed.

Too slow. Again.

 

The ribbon wrapped around the rearview

preserves, beyond a shadow of a doubt

the flattened can of Diet Coke in the cupholder— but of course

God forbid

I remember the words that I spoke.

And so I turn to manufactured interiors

extracting injury from the meaningless details

of wardrobe and beverage

and location, unending location:

X-marks-the-spot where I

put the key in the lock

listening behind the hedge as the engine

thinned slowly into silence.

Why do I keep coming back to that?

 

I am what I am

despite my best efforts:

a greedy eater nursing the lie that kills my nows

and turns them into thens.

I let myself escape

into watching the palm trees shiver. I am thinking

without really thinking

about the story

I will later tell.

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