BY LIBBY CUDMORE
GIRLS WITHOUT HOLOGRAMS
He made good on his promise to leave if there were rainbows. So she took off her pink stage wig and transformed to blonde. I cannot wash the Manic Panic out of my hair with even the cheapest shampoo.
(She writes songs about loving him. I write the ones where he leaves.)
Lightning makes me the wicked one, branded by my eyes. I rip/shred, sew thrift store secretary dresses into Betsey Johnson knock-offs. Fishnets are cheap after Halloween. The muffler of our van is a drum kit in itself that no boy will blush and fix for free.
(Is it cheating if he makes out with her alter-ego?)
Daddy bought her wardrobe, her car, the voice she sings with. Life is one long Battle of the Bands. I hear her songs at the grocery store. She invites our Keytar player to go on tour with her, smile like a toothpaste ad and the next time I see her, she’s traded her Docs Martens for kitten heels. I tell new boyfriends that we were once big in Japan. They don’t believe me, but fuck me anyways.
It’s okay that she wins. I wouldn't know what do with a mansion if I had one.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT MICHAEL WESTEN
You are only a handful of dress shirts, but you are a different man each time you wear them. Walk, accent, tie or no tie. It’s only when you’re stripped bare that I recognize you at all. These days, you’re naked less and less often until I have forgotten all but entirely what you look like.
Florida heat has scorched our brains in a way mint and rum cannot fix. We drink anyways. My CIA contact says I should let the ghost of you go, but yogurt won’t ransom my heart back from Brennen.
Ours is not a solution of bullets or gasoline. We cannot be fixed with a quick wit or a fast car, a doctored cell phone and a stockpile of C4. You’re lying low with fake papers in hand; even if I could catch up to you, I couldn’t say I’m sorry in any language you might speak. Call your mother. Maybe she knows what to do.
Libby Cudmore's debut novel, THE BIG REWIND, was published by William Morrow in February 2016. Her stories, essays and poems have appeared in The Big Click, the Stoneslide Corrective, PANK, Paper Darts, Vinyl Me Please, The Writer magazine and the anthologies HANZAI JAPAN, WELCOME HOME and MIXED UP.