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By Sandra Jeppeson

The hair stuck straight out but the socks lay down. The sweaters were all around on the floor. I wanted to phone but the times were all wrong. Plus, I kept thinking, what if he’s with someone else.

The dog barked in the hallway but I walked past anyway. The pens were all out of ink. I did not want her to see my new red hair. I swallowed the vitamin and then some water but you were supposed to dissolve it first. It gargled up my throat when the water hit. This was supposed to make me healthy. I gagged for ten minutes like a dry-heaving dog.

The geyser blew at noon when she visited it but we went to the Badlands. The deer were all down on the flats, and that’s when I saw it. At least how it could be. My family drove on. I ate and ate but never felt any better. The candles burned down and then went out. And then I understood how good food was just enough to make a girl puke.

The red fading out of my hair. How can you say you’re my friend, he asked, and then try to stick your tongue in my mouth? He set me out on the curb like recycling. The tractor was pulling his place behind it but I was at the bottom of the ocean looking out.

First we had to take off our boots and everything with spikes. Her socks were green wool with purple stitching across the toes. Mine were black and full of holes but she could jump higher. I did the front flips over and over trying to land on my feet. The grass was all bushy and purple but the deer were dry red clay.

I got an old black-and-white from the neighbour but I never plugged it in. I put on my shoes and jacket to go out and then I just sit there, he tells me. I can’t face it. It was a beautiful ragged old leather jacket, the kind that doesn’t keep you warm. It is the story I love, it is the running water. Even though I kept landing on my ass.

It never hurt. We both laughed and laughed. Every flip I did, my bladder gave way just a little until the last one when it was more. I put my boots back on. The rest of the night was groups of people sitting on the floor and my urge to climb up on things and sit there cross-legged.

The river is a black oil drum. The bathtub overflowed onto the carpet and took six days to dry. The coffee was in an orange clay pot and me spinning the beater in warm milk. He was sewing up the holes in my socks. His tongue was in my mouth the week before and I liked it there even if he didn’t. I throw the TV into the river.

Sandra has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Concordia University and is in Germany on sabbatical from her PhD at York. Her work has appeared in subTerrain, Burning Ambitions, Fish Piss and several chapbooks and punk zines. She’s working on a novel.

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