Abe Bingham CC
Equinox at the Dixie Quick Stop
I am vomiting breakfast tacos and a decade of shame
on the first day of bluebonnet season
behind a gas station in Johnson City.
From the tinny music piped through the speakers,
Willie Nelson advises that the road goes on forever
and the party never ends.
Party’s over, Willie. I want to throw up
my hands and admit defeat.
I don’t have the guts.
I peel off the sticker on a rotting banana
freckled as my exposed
shoulders. I need something more
on my stomach aside from the Equinox,
a milky brew of espresso and horchata
now astrally-projectile-vomited in the parking lot.
I hold back
my hair and inhale exhaust
and scattered seeds. I keep everything down
but it always sprouts back up.
Yesterday’s bourbon and bits of bile mingle
on the pavement like old buds
running into each other at the bar
with nothing much in common anymore
except the good ol’ days.
68 miles to go. This expanse of US 290-W stretches
and yawns. Wasted peaches squish
beneath my boots, shriveled and befuzzed.
My phone buzzes in staccato shivers;
Mom wants me to shake a leg.
Oh no wouldn’t wanna be late to rehab haha eye roll emoji
I’m being sent away. I can’t talk.
Something’s come up
and I need another shot
to prove myself wrong.
There’s more I need to get out.
I shove my fingers down my throat
for the last gasp, once more, with feeling,
the final shuddering sigh
of astronomical winter. I wipe my mouth
and pick at a purple thread splitting at the seams
of my sundress. I patched it up
last week, again,
but it’s threatening to unravel, again.
Easy Does It
Three years and a continent
from recovery, I plant
myself on the grass, drink
two liters of boxed merlot, unlock
my phone, and call my baby brother
I wake to tequila sunrises
over an empty garden wet
with dew and slushpuddles
and every bit of scorched earth,
every shard of eggshell
stuck in my soles.
I pick them out
one by one. I compost
them with coffee grounds
and progress, not perfection.
I whisper to the dirt
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
Pepper (she/her) is a writer and teacher who hails from Texas but now calls home the mountains of Vilcabamba, Ecuador. She spends her free time writing by the river, making collages, and marveling at the sheer amount of unrecognizable beetles and butterflies that live in her garden. Pepper is currently the Translation Editor at MAYDAY Magazine. She can be found on Instagram @jonibitchell_ and Twitter @pepwriteswords.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.