I don’t know anything about my life, except that I’m terrified of my massive financial debt, and the only thing that calms me down is a naked girl with two beers. The beers have to be either both for her, or both for me. I rarely have the opportunity to explain this. Most of the girls walk out of my apartment before they’re even completely undressed, saying things like, “Summer makes me feel like a black umbrella is opening in my chest.” It’s okay, but I don’t understand why they do that. Maybe they’re in more debt than I am.
A Cake Appeared
Our baby blue convertible is number forty-nine in the holiday parade. I'm chauffeuring the famous country and western singer, Miss Lena Tart, who keeps saying, “Well, ain’t that something,” as if she hadn’t grown up here herself. Maybe things look different through famous eyes. On the sidelines, children toss sparkly red and green confetti. There are things I need to say to Miss Tart; I want to congratulate her for escaping this redneck town. I want to ask her how she did it. In front of us, Civil War reenactors ride swayback horses. Behind us, on the Santa float, Christmas elves are dirty dancing to "Blue Christmas." I do believe they’re drunk. Miss Tart swivels her head to watch them. My ex-husband is the third elf from the left. He’s always ruining things, though I must admit he has good rhythm. He waves at Miss Tart and blows her a kiss. “Well, ain’t that something,” she says. A gust of window blows confetti back into the children's faces and makes them cry, and I think maybe my ex is waving at me, too. I hope Miss Tart has some good advice.
She hated the spiraling & fading Italian cypresses that edged the cemetery’s memory. Sometimes, when she drove past, she longed to visit his grave, but hadn't for years. Her boyfriend wanted to meet her there.
Beyond the wrought iron gates & flashing granite, she was light shimmering into heat, & rolled beyond a ritual. Headstones spiked with names blurred & returned to the earth by the wind & the rain. He parked in the shade beneath bursting pomegranates & melting olive trees. Inside his silvered Bentley, they talked about love & death, & she asked to see his gun. He liquored her mouth with opiates & got rough. Frequently, she was afraid of getting arrested with him, & later prayed the rosary. After he drove away, her heels dug into the dirt, while searching for his name lost among the stones.
Meeting again in the early morning mist, they wandered through a labyrinth of crosses & angel wings hidden in the chambers of her naked heart. Her silks fluttered & frayed with sparking crystals, & he carried his Glock in his suit pocket. Finding his name, her poetries & poppies unfurled in a slow, icy burn. Then, he squeezed her breathless, promising he would take care of her first.
Vallie Lynn Watson