No one asks how old a seashell is?
“Please don’t suggest anything, like for me to volunteer as a pink lady or to seek psychiatric help.” –Lucia Berlin
Upholstered and isolated, food is canned and repressed, but beverages corner the caged scars of summer. I suck the marrow out of bottles. Today the kid has friends over, ravenous for anything. All pithy dimples, luster and mutiny, they’re a line-up of grenades on the couch. Wish there was a beta-blocker between me and them, but the goddamn medicine cabinet is gaping dusty rings around the thirty-day supply that used to showcase there. Expired insurance crumbles time into missed appointments that smirk.
Walmart shopped me yesterday and bless the vodka in bulk that ended up in my bag. I crank shots in the pantry. “How’s your mom, dad”, I rat-a-tat-tat without recognition of who is who. Four boys launch into can we just slam the door on this bullshit, singing, “Good,” “Good,” “Good,” “Good,” as I stare through the tangled fidgetry of their captivity. They wait for me to bludgeon them with parental bleating. Jacked-up teenagers hounded by adults who don’t give a shit about them is mirrored in their demeanor. Not only am I not that brand of parent, but bullet swigs deepen a need to plumb the surly taste of any boy who finds himself stranger to his body.
The bloated intruder and dewy ingenue of myself paints potency of malleable flesh into a softer shade of a telescope gone wrong side up. The more I drink, the faster calendars unhinge from their years. Blossoms fluent in Spring magnify and hone in on my ripening cheeks. “Any of you boys care to get drunk?”
Meg Tuite’s latest collection is ‘WHITE VAN”. She is author of five story collections and five chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Poetry award for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging and is included in Best of Small Press 2021. She teaches writing retreats and online classes hosted by Bending Genres. She is also the fiction editor of Bending Genres and associate editor at Narrative Magazine. http://megtuite.com
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