How To Win A Staring Contest (M. Price)

(of course the fireplace is for show he filled the flue with cement instead of fixing the spalling brick the house was built in ‘79 was not made for such conditions resigned by lighting small fires under hidden cigarettes swallowed mouthwash daydreamed about cutting the long orange extension cords of our neighbor’s back-up generators spit my husband’s name hard and dead into the ground he loved me crazy loved me to stone did he convince me into stillness or did i learn how to stay how to stay how did i learn to stay was it a staring contest that i was trying to win when did i decide to freeze to remain held steadfast down under layers of years and cloth just want to be warm again some days he would try please just stop it looked like a hand reaching out or a line cast he forgot about that video of the feral dog with the frothy mouth who tore the dummy limb apart when it got too close to the bowl of kibble i forgot everything except how to snarl into the suspended steam droplets in the bathroom and the heat from the left-on-too-long oven i press fingers together pray quiet ugly thank yous that he can’t read my mind he chose this house what a stupid man i chose this man what does that make me)

Did I sit too long in an idling car?


M. Price keeps trying in spite of it all. Or for it all? She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her cat, Babycat, and tweets too much at @notmywurst. More of her work can be found in Contrary Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and here at good ol’ Rejection Letters.


image: Lindsay Hargrave