John Brighenti CC
August, Dayton, Ohio
three empty months and one terrible day
passed and you asked
me over for a beer.
your living room was the same
but the world had changed.
maybe you were bored or drunk or
wanted a fuck
maybe you'd seen me out with someone new
or you couldn't face the night
alone after someone shot up our home.
i was sunburned and puffy eyed
and not particularly strong
you were forging armor from domestic lager
the cans lined up like soldiers.
i knelt before you with vanilla lips
and stained jeans like offerings
i left them at your feet and
mouthed wordless prayers
we are alive.
maybe you couldn't hear above
the thudding of my heart but i
didn't ask you to love me back.
I was thinking
about that place where
you used to screenprint,
those old buildings, off Linden.
We'd watch the sun go down out the
wall of windows with the plants.
The air in that studio
smelled like warm dust and crayons
We'd get real high.
There were so many
up there, the spilled inks
and stacks of t shirts
Your red hair.
You'd put on hip hop
or podcasts and I
always learned something new.
You don't print t shirts any more, or live here, and
is in a whole other building across town now
But that was a happy place,
up there at nights
stoned, hot shirts
folded against me.
Class (warfare) of Covid 19
You know that old saying
you can take the girl out of the trailer park
but it'll just track her the fuck back down?
I don't know about you, but I'm real tired
of running the socioeconomic poverty trap rat race anyway.
Do not pass go;
do not collect your welfare check.
And it doesn't seem to matter that I've never seen a hard drug
up close and in person
because my neighbors have
and that shit'll get you by proximity all the same
the way we're dumped in here, cheek to jowl,
in the trailer parks and the hollers and the goddamn west end,
the poor and the poor bastard who can't stop, the have-nots.
And they write us off, and hold us down,
the people at the top
of the ladder while they wax nostalgic
about their hypothetical bootstraps
and hand us down crumbs
like they're chunks of gold and we
should be grateful,
groveling across the widening gaps
of an unraveling safety net.
And maybe it's a lesson I missed
with my cut rate education,
but where do I sign up
for some of that trickle down privilege?
Kelly Dillahunt is a queer former librarian and aspiring cat lady who grew up in a trailer park outside Dayton, Ohio. Now, she fixes houses and writes things.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.