Day-old fried cheese curds. Three Vortex IPAs. Pickles. More pickles. Low-sodium soy sauce (brand: Dillons), jumbo ketchup, two packs of brown eggs (organic but not free range). Whole milk, low-fat milk, whole cream, half cream. Deviled eggs, butter, one full wasabi tube. Greens going bad.
Trader Joe’s carrot juice. Farmers’ market greens. Goat cheese we can’t afford. Beer, beer, beer. Three different hot sauces, full-sodium soy sauce. Bread so dense you can barely chew.
White wine, chocolate, cat food. Day-old green chile crepe. Ice pack, ice pack, ice pack.
A storm is coming or is over or is happening. I throw a magazine; you punch a wall. Don’t upset the cat! I say. An ice cream truck drives by and the motorcycle gang revs up outside our window. I throw celery at your head.
You stand chest-to-chest with me, pinning me to a wall. You are shaking. Our disco floor spins.
We sleep on opposite sides of the bed. I cut my hair shorter and shorter and let it go blonde again. You drink tequila until that’s just how you smell.
A dark mahogany table from the 1920s. Real rugs. Target art; a bed of air. Wavy fun-house glass. Low, low carpet that smells of someone else’s sweat. A shower within a shower. Floors that slant from every wall to a depression in the middle of the house. We are living in a bowl.
A bed on the floor that we call a futon. A co-worker’s $2,000 reclining chair purchased specifically for someone to die in. Ikea furniture we can’t pronounce. Wood floors with good character. A sink that forgives you.
A set of unread red leather books. Small, coke-bottle windows. Pink stone counters that press against your thighs as you wash dishes. Cold tile floor that collects pieces of you.
The clear call of a cardinal, glowing red at the top of a tree. Geese everywhere; geese are mostly neck. Sad, injured birds of prey kept in a structure at the park. Tall, stately egrets wading like white dinosaurs through the river we can smell.
Many. Most importantly, a blue jay who keeps me company as I garden. He has strong legs I fall in love with. I toss him worms as he hops closer, closer. Maybe someday he will eat from my hand. I feel something like sexual desire.
Doves who speak in phrases. Who-cooks-for-you? Who-cooks-for-you? Roadrunners with dead lizards in their mouths. Rosy finches on the tops of exploding cacti, their feathers the same pink as my fading hair dye. They tilt their heads as I walk past, and I follow them in flight until I can’t see them anymore. You can never get close enough. Not really.
Becca Yenser now lives in New Mexico. They are the author of the creative nonfiction flash collection, The Grief Lottery, (forthcoming, ELJ Editions, 2021), and the short story chapbook, Bang the Dream (forthcoming, Selcouth Station Press, 2021). Their writing appears in Hobart, Bending Genres, Tiny Molecules, Fanzine, and Heavy Feather Review. NJ the Cat approves this message.
Lonchera in pink space
Rebeca Abidial Flores is a Salvadoreña and Mexican American artist from Fresno, CA.