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Suzanne Langlois



While waiting for sleep to come and lie

beside me, I set a stage in my head and

compose a whole alternate story leading

to a whole alternate now, that one blunder

undone and all other potential blunders

between then and now miraculously avoided,

as though there was only one way to ruin

everything. When I have the plot worked out

and have lined myself up for the kiss, the whole

fiction dissolves, as fictions do, as futures do.

But at least a fiction that’s entirely fantasy

doesn't leave a residue the way the ones

I've acted out do. It never feels like a play

at the start. I don’t notice the curtains,

dark and heavy on the periphery, until

they are pulled shut and the house lights

flicker on, revealing everything.  



At least I won't need to worry about

what I look like with my teeth out.

And my teeth are definitely falling out

since I currently don't have to worry

about going to bed with bad breath.

Though probably anyone who gets old

enough with another person to take

their teeth out isn't so worried about it

anymore. My room will only be cluttered

with my own stuff, which doesn't even

fit the definition of clutter, which is

someone else's stuff. The person I spend

the most time annoyed with is myself,

and when I refuse to talk to myself,

instead of looking petty, I just look sane.

Of course I worry about falling, about

paralysis, about a sudden affliction

that comes on too quickly to call anyone.

But worry is equal-opportunity in that

I'll always be able to find something

to worry about. Give me exactly

what I want, the thing that fulfills

every dream I've mostly given up on,

and I'll only worry about losing it.



Suzanne Langlois is a teacher from Portland, Maine. Her collection Bright Glint Gone won the 2019 Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance chapbook award. Her work has appeared in journals such as Quarterly West, Rust + Moth, Leon Literary Review, Cider Press Review, and in the 2022 Best New Poets Anthology. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College.


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