Clichés can be chances to speak to your usually hazy sense of déjà vu.
It’s like a séance. Everyone wants to summon the same ghost.
Like driving to the funeral. We saw a water tower that said
Boswell: Home of the Universe.
And suddenly the tower looked not like a tower
But a giant metal jellyfish of secrets.
Or how right now I’m eating soda-flavored jellybeans.
I am in a frame of mind that changes the experience.
I could be eating with the goal of mixing certain flavors
Like, does Sprite go best with Grape Crush
Or with something weird like Dr. Pepper.
Or I could be thinking how they taste like jellybeans
And not like soda which is not a solid.
Instead, I’m looking out on the horizon
Watching trucks run past the endless seeming fields
And all the jellybeans are tasteless tips of sugar on my tongue
Punctuated sometimes by the hint of occasional orange.
Every funeral reminds me of a movie.
I can’t look at a coffin without hearing Cat Stevens’ voice.
I almost expect to run into Bud Cort or his uncle with the fake arm
Or a portrait of Nathan Hale between posters of game birds and flowers and dogs.
Aside from these clichés, the days are blurring altogether
Which itself is a cliché. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.
I’m eating so much fucking sugar. Now all of the scalloped potatoes are gone.
I am living on oatmeal cookies and coffee with non-dairy creamer.
We wander into strip malls. Suddenly, the shelves of TJ Maxx
Are filled with ceaseless wonder. I can see myself using that hair dryer
That jacket or that pair of what were once expensive shoes.
I would use these things every day of my still living life.
Sometimes I even pass a lacey bra or some new underwear and think
I would look sexy if I wore that. Before you died, I never saw myself
As someone who would dress in discount lingerie.
Apparently that’s who I am or who I have become.
Everyone keeps asking if I want to have kids.
I say no, they ask me why, and I don’t know.
I pick up their children, aware of the way that their
Pudgy hands push down the top of my dress
And reveal a hint of the bra with its discount lace trim.
I am expected to be motherly but still be sexy too.
Right now I am still focused on the sexy.
We’re watching The X Factor, eating the rest of the brownies.
These kids are all talented, going somewhere someday.
They are going to be the same someone. They’re all the same thing.
They look really nice in their oversized scarves
And their short shorts and thin drapey sweaters.
I wonder if they shop at TJ Maxx.
A Fine Piece of
I get into my friend’s daddy’s car and I slam the door shut
Like I’m slamming his face like I want to but can’t cuz my Mom says
My friend’s daddy glares at me, teeth white and smelling like church water
He says, look here, son, like I am his son, not his son’s friend
He says, this here is a Volvo
It’s a fine piece of machinery
You don’t have to slam on the door
Like it’s your daddy’s Buick
I say oh and he looks down at me like I’m his son
My best friend in the back has become some anonymous bad kid
And I am like his son if he were like a man possessed
Like the manifestation of all of his deepest worst unspoken thoughts
I say oh, that’s too bad cuz my daddy, he don’t drive no Buick
My daddy drives a big black Cadillac
My daddy drives a Cadillac with shiny silver wheels
Spinning round and round and round and round and round
He looks at me like I’m the devil himself
But I am no longer looking up at him
I’m staring dead into a nearby graveyard filled with crosses
That says I’m your child. I was not your choice.
I say yeah, my daddy drives a shiny Cadillac
You’ll know it when you see it out your window
Late at night, when no one’s gonna hear you scream
Over the sound of me slamming your car door as much
And as hard as I damn well want to
Meghan Lamb lives on the south side of Chicago. She has published in Pank, Bluestem, elimae, Nano Fiction, and Pear Noir!. Her hair is not naturally red. Her hair is also not red.