by Abby Mangel
“Am I not who you thought I would be?”
A severe case of monophobia
led me to a violet shift of a punk establishment
that sat precariously on the river.
It was a sacral landmark,
a busy locale known to be as self-destructive
as the urban shadows packed inside of it.
the foundation of the building rocked
like it was ready to collapse into the watery sludge below.
As I cradled a sticky can of piss beer inside at the bar,
the venue itself seemed aware of the fact
that we all hurt ourselves in different ways.
I held my Lonestar
like a cosmic flotation device
if the creaky, old deck
ever splintered and splashed
into the black river below.
A rude bitch
was teasing the huddled masses,
flinching baseball caps and hiking up skirts,
For a jarring three seconds
you tampered with a stubborn speaker
before a disembodied voice from behind the bar
You were dressed
in a denim button-down
that had seen better days.
It was a balmy night in December,
and you had rolled back
the long sleeves of your shirt.
Its marred fabric
was stained by what looked
like soft spray of liquid bleach bullets.
I pictured you washing dishes recklessly at some point,
like a logician,
calculated and measured,
the contrasting colors
of your dark indigo shirt
the rosy panels of my bedroom floor.
aren’t immune to that viral aphorism
that nothing lasts forever:
I had already shelved my desire for you
like a cigarette
that had fallen into a puddle,
wet and wilted garbage.
“Is this not what you thought I would say?”
Abby Mangel is the Graduate Assistant of the English Language and Literature Program at St. Mary’s University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English and philosophy from Trinity University. She is a rock n’ roll journalist, and she is writing a Master’s Thesis on Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature.