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Brittany Brewer

The girls I grew up with were slick

after Karyna McGlynn


& sweet as Splenda, saccharine, four packets please,

they soak you sickly until you forget it’s bad for you


They had skin like frogs, elastic & moist, shedding

their bodies every weekend, not afraid to mislead you,

to try on another & another, catwalking brazenly

through the aisles of the Goodwill off of State Road 46.

They steered me down the highway of adolescence.


Converse & Matching Shirts & We aren’t talking to them

today. They stepped down the halls silently & not without

pride, claiming the senior hallway every morning at 7:05

with a slouch like the high school itself was propping them up.


Their eyes glinted when they tossed quips, no hands needed,

instead fisting mickey d’s frosties & fries from Arby’s & when

one got get, banter dripping like Arby’s sauce from the corner

of another’s mouth, you could sometimes see their eyes strike flint.


They all took up late-night messaging, keeping watch for alerts

of alt lyrics & door creaks & rotating besties [pre/de]moted

on the daily. They had MySpace Top 8 & Bath & Body

Works sweet pea spray & intentions to be teachers & nurses.


Absent-mindedly, their tongues sliced at my folds, making pulp

of me. I was a blank page for them to write their stories on,

shoved into the corner of their backpack, tossed in their car.


I contorted myself into the little space remaining in their

Toyota Camry. I was eager & pliant & flexible & quiet.


& they didn’t hear me—when the weight got to be too much

& they bore down too hard. They didn’t listen for me at all.


Even though I’d learned all their favorite things & practiced

their subdued smile, the one that doesn't reach the eyes.

The Store is Closed now

there is a soft sensation

a stinging-numb-tingling

that encircles my thumb

the phantom pulsations

reminding me to take off

my ring at night, to never

wear it too long, though

I never used to take it off—


I remember my mom lost

hers in the ocean several

years back, how crushed

and naked she felt missing

this circlet we delighted in

choosing out together in an

airport jewelry store, one of

the moments of mother-

daughterness where every

thing falls into place


—but last week I took it off, or

maybe it was the week before,

it became easier to leave the

band off than to coerce it over

my knuckle, to force it across

this newfound bloated barrier.

At least, that is what I whispered

to myself, what I repeated like

a spell when I tried to join her

back to me.



Brittany Brewer (she/her) is a queer, chronically ill poet, [theatre] artist, and educator. She researches and writes pieces whose aesthetics sing of sticky, Midwestern basements; stumbling queerness; female friendships, sexuality, and bodies; and the magical possibilities that exist in the in-between. Currently, she lives in Michigan where she is a doctoral student at Michigan State University. Her poetry has appeared in Rougarou, Months to Years, and Wild Roof Journal. For more:


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