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
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: www.brittanybrewer.com.