Michael Cory CC
An Untouched Cake Sits On My Fire Escape
My throat is closing up. I sit on my fire escape and
wait for the ticking to slow down.
We are too similar, I am also not a good man.
I stole my sisters diary from underneath
her beanbag when I was seven;
I confessed at my first reconciliation.
The Priest gave me five Hail Mary’s and an
ever-evolving need for praise.
In this world we’re not allowed
to have our cake and eat it too.
I didn’t want a bite,
so I threw the whole damn thing out.
When I heave only bile comes up.
I fear I am becoming a redundant person;
I fear I am a redundant person;
I fear being redundant.
I would disappear if I could, but I’ve heard
it’s difficult to get nicotine stains out of wallpaper.
I have fifteen umbrellas stacked by my door, I straighten
my collection before walking out.
All rooftops offer a choice.
It’s a fucking party, people
have fun at those right?
Teach me the secret to being good,
I can tuck myself in.
I do not know how to write about JOY
I scream into my phone and
send to the woman who knows me.
That is not funny, but I laughed.
And then I laughed too.
Write about when the city meets summer
air or the really good waffle fries
or even turning that last page.
Pick one and crystallize sitting in an
empty fountain, warm off shitty
vodka. Getting off work and going
straight home. Finally buying a picture frame
that fits and hanging it right above your bed.
The nights where no one showed up so
we brought out Jenga instead. A drinking game
for two. The right pair of gloves for a
New York winter. A call from your Dad.
Try something that is decidedly
un-joyful and remember the
burn. Like waking up in his bed or
the party where you chainsmoked out a
classmates window and cried in the car home.
Do not write about leaves falling or
babies smiling. Erase the lovers that
do not exist, the ones you made up.
Name the simple.
That can be your joy.
My Mother and I Have A Secret Language
Last week I rewatched Steel Magnolias and made a note to call my mom. The first time we watched it together it was snowing. I was fifteen and I started sobbing when Julia Roberts got married and didn’t stop till the credits rolled. I cried at everything back then. When I was twelve a doctor told me I might never be able to have kids. I cried in the lobby while my mom chewed her out. Then she grabbed my hand and let me skip school. We started every morning for a decade with a smile and a pill. Autoimmune diseases are a bitch. That’s why my mom and I can have such bad tempers, we’re so angry at our bodies that it has to spill out somewhere. Occasionally I think it has to mean something that I was the only daughter to inherit; other times I think we were just born to be unlucky together. Now we have a made-up language all to ourselves; we ask are the T4 levels alright? How about your TSH? I try to pretend we’re Tolkien compiling enough research to make our own brand of Elvish. Are diseases thicker than blood? Your medication is not optional. We live over one hundred miles apart, but I call her after my appointments to gab in our secret code. I pretend the people I walk past on the street aren’t listening. Most of the time I pray they are and that they feel left out.
MaryCharlotte “MC” Barnes is a New York based student who got tired of people shortening her name, so she did it herself. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in HAD, Bending Genres, and Moot Point. You can find her on Twitter @mc_barnes_
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.