"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


Why the Long Face?

Why the Long Face?

So I'm at Target returning a set of sheets, because the
fitted one isn't deep enough and the purple isn't purple enough, and
the girls chattering away behind me, their dishes aren't clean enough, so
the dish soap is being unpurchased, too. It's strange, isn't it?
This undoing, rewinding your own life as you see fit,

like maybe I should walk out of here backwards. And
then I could uneat all that ice cream, so
that I could unworry about it or how my jeans fit.
In my universe of reverse, dessert comes after the guilt, so that it
actually is dessert. Imagine that. Or, in the

mind's eye, fast-forward-rewind six years: it
is July, a Saturday afternoon, sunny and hot. Most of the
2006 SHS graduating class, in their finest blacks, watch and
wait as we unearth the box, dust it off. Dads, stepdads, they
fit coffin curve to shoulder and (walking backwards, mind you) carry, so

gently, our friend. At the hospital, artist surgeons fit
the delicate, velvet bits of him back together, stitch him whole. The
pen peels back cursive from certificate, machines plug in, light up. It
is late; nearly early. At Pine Point beach, candles flicker to life and
we draw fuming panic and weed smoke from the wet, heavy air as I, so

calmly, explain to that girlfriend of yours how fucking ridiculous it is to tattoo the
name of one still living to your ankle. A little silver gun hums and
siphons ink from skin. The sun unsets. Somewhere in Buxton, where the road fit
to the world's curve, a bashed Camry uncrumples itself. It
pulls the gash back from the tree, and so

quietly pauses, for one forever-long second, as the
body of a 19-year-old boy sails feet-first through the air, and
through the glitter-smashed windshield, into the passenger seat. It is so
nice, this backwards universe of mine, and maybe it's stupid but truthfully, it
just seems more real than what's real. The thought of you whole and alive just fits

the way old receipts can be gripped to fit the contours of your fist, and so
when I snap back to forward and hand this over to the cashier
she seems relieved, sends me off with a 20 and a nice afternoon, before
clicking off the aisle light, punching out, and heading off towards Applebee's for lunch.


Kelsey Frank is a waitress at a bowling alley in Maine. This is her first published poem.

Cover photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

There is no home

There is no home

WHAT IS THE HEROIN?

WHAT IS THE HEROIN?

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