Country Music
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Sarah Certa



Someone Left Out in the Rain


I’m so fucking tired I might as well be drunk or try to write
in my sleep, but I keep thinking about this thread
running through the middle of my body and up
through my skull, drawing
me into the sky like
a marionette, except I don’t think anyone
is pulling on the end. And when I think very hard, I realize I can’t see
the end of the thread, which is dark blue and disappears
about 50 miles above me, like the end
of a beam of light in a cave, which must be the place
this lonely feeling comes from, because I don’t like to think
it could come from inside me, that I
could be so empty. But maybe that’s just what happens
when you spend Friday night working
at the liquor store, helping people decide what kind of drinks
they should serve at their Halloween parties, selling cheap beer
to old men in sweatpants, the woman
who just lost her job
at the Legion up the street, her mouth like a half-smoked cigarette
someone left out in the rain, her eyes
like aluminum cans someone
keeps crushing and
crushing. On the drive home I play a game with myself,
where I have to decide which scenario
I’d most enjoy going home to. In the first
I am a teacher, with a stack of papers to grade
and a bottle of Cabernet already opened and breathing
on the end table in the living room
where it’s always nighttime and the windows
have red drapes and always there’s piano music
coming from the neighbor upstairs, the notes drifting through my ceiling
like royal dust from an 18th century party dress, a time when wide hips
were something to crave. But my drive is short,
and so my fantasies never get
much further than that, and really the whole point of the game
is to decide whether or not I wish I had someone
to go home to, a lap to fold into, a hand to hold, a body
to remind me of my own. Tonight I am so tired
I decide I don’t want
to be reminded of anything, that I’m okay
with my job at the liquor store, with feeling
both younger and older than I am, always scrubbing
at the numbers I’ve glued to myself so that always
I feel raw, like cut-open knuckles
screaming in the wind. I climb into bed
and decide I’m okay
with being alone in it, which feels like deciding
I’m okay with being dead, at which point the thread snaps, done
with its job for the night, my spine
collapsing like a tower down inside me.

 

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