August 2001 / Volume Two / Issue Two
Amanda McGuire

It is the damp washcloth Mom pressed against the back of neck   head hanging
down in sink    lips drool of blood and vomit     the bloody lacerations on thighs
buttocks & back     That asshole sleeping in a shabby recliner   the belt
dangling from his sex-scented fingers.

It is the toilet full of puke  finger down throat  the empty gag after bags of
Lays chips & peanut M&Ms  two containers of Breyer’s Vanilla ice cream 
laxatives hidden under the empty mattress next to the vibrator    A mirror
shattered by fist

It is the frumpy chair with wide seat   a bunch of affirmations never before
heard   the shuffle of feet   eyes lowered blinking back tears hands gripping
chair’s arms  the gradual release of each nail-bitten finger letting go  
Letting go

It is the embrace of naked against clothed     fingers tracing spine & shoulder
/ leather coat & jean’s back pockets    navy sheets crumpled the dawn sun
through Venetian blinds     the kiss before phone calls, e-mails, paperwork    
The unimagined contentment of latching lock to a familiar unowned door

It is the words strung in black ant lines marching across the page carrying
picnic food:
Beets   Chicken   Tomato   Cheese Cake
indigestible/digestible      hungry/full
Something (a memory, a scared box, a shoehorn, or intuition)
brought to you from him through her and him  A gift to be opened & read   
understood    a picnic basket filled with universal themes ordinary & personal
as 3 o’clock Saturday   a date
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