I Saw Your Body in a Bar
1219 miles from home, / 1669 miles /from where you’re supposed to be.
Your mouth moved the same. / Your hands / the same. / Your fingers on your mustache / the same / though now it was fuller than it ever was /when you still let me kiss it. / I think you grew it out / eventually / once I was no longer around to ask you to.
I knew it wasn’t you / first when I saw his hips / his ass / too full / too curved / like a notch / in the Mississippi River / an “s” / crooked letter / crooked letter.
I knew I could bite it, / hold it in my hands. / “A girl’s ass!” / I thought, / me & my gin fizz. / “Stolen from them!” / Hidden in dark denim, / waiting for me to cup / with my hands / my mouth.
The bootcut jeans / were the dead giveaway though. / You would never. / You complained / about your chicken legs, / but you loved them. / You wanted their shape to press hard / against denim.
You were right though. / They were / unsightly.
You dream of your ex-boyfriend
that he and some indie band boy amalgamation
must jumpstart your car in the parking lot
because you have blocked someone in.
A beautiful woman, you think.
You dream of your ex-boyfriend in a throuple,
a word you know not how to pronounce,
and that you meet the new woman
that is not his red-headed girlfriend
and you like her
and you see the house where they all live together,
the happy three,
and then you wake up
and you try to smash your brains out through your ears
on your bookshelf
on your keyboard.
You call this dream a nightmare,
though nothing bad actually happens.
The nightmare is that he is in your dreams again,
that he won’t leave you alone,
that they won’t leave you alone,
because his girlfriend is always there too.
You know though, what the truth is.
You think of that night,
of Faulkner and the 10,000 weight in gold
of the white-tiled bathroom,
the one pink wall,
how you both tried to scurry away as quickly as possible,
like roaches caught in the light.
You don’t remember the voicemail you left,
but you do remember
that the last thing you wanted was to know that she was real
outside of her posed instagram photos
and that one time you saw her from the bookstore window
walking the dog that she has since given away.
But you had made her real.
You have dreamt of their apartment,
of her cat, who is now also his cat.
He has never met your cat,
because you got the cat to replace him.
Your witch friend speaks
of an ex-lover who is haunting her
who appears in her dreams
and you say, “Me too!”
But her lover is dead,
and yours is very much alive
and you know that it is not some act of a god,
not some uncut string,
not some unearthly force,
but merely the fact
that you look at his instagram every day,
and hers too,
hers more often, probably,
and though neither makes you cry any longer,
you know you are continually wounding yourself,
participating in blood play,
You know this is the altar,
your blood is the sacrifice,
that you are feeding the beast,
speaking it into existence.
But you cannot help but smile
when it rears its ugly head.
Originally from Mississippi, M.C. Smith now lives in the mountains & is a Creative Nonfiction candidate in the University of Wyoming’s MFA program. Her nonfiction has been published in The Bitter Southerner and her poetry in both Flyway Journal of Writing & Environment and Witch Craft Magazine. Smith currently lives in Laramie, WY with her three-legged cat, Barry Hannah. She spends her limited free-time thrifting vintage dishware and learning how to be an “outdoors person.”
image: Lindsay Hargrave