I never feel as desperate as when I'm trying to open a pickle jar or clip my cat's claws as he swipes clean between my eyes or when the shower rod fell off the wall that one time I lived in that Somerville apartment with a group of three other boys they ate all my food and once I had to piss in the sink all over the cups and dishes they never thought to wash the house was old appeared to have horse hair in the wall apparently before I lived there a random guy was known to sleep in the vestibule sometimes the porch too a desperate living quarters for desperate times it was $500 a month and I had a walk-in closet so what is the real complaint here? My bed would shake when my roommate would fuck his girlfriend who practically lived there too and the other girlfriends making us seven sharing one bathroom I tried very little and tried hard to be there as little as possible a friend of theirs pounded on my door to come in and didn't I want to and I didn't I hated the walk from Davis Square and freezer burnt pints of ben & jerry's at tufts convenience which a Yelper describes as smelling like “the ass of a long deceased beast” but when it snows and snows and you're stuck in the house of horse hair and horrors you make sacrifices before adulting became a buzzword it was a real skill I lacked and lack I still eat cheese squares over the sink think this is how to nurture a body in decline my body is an old truck I drive around the country never relying on the kindness of strangers but rather the mythology of Dateline that most women get killed by someone they know so most strangers are probably safe statistically or rather in a retelling of my tragedies by Lester Holt I've done a lot of dumb shit but never died it's actually remarkable in the first grade a boy punched me in the nose blood all over my little mermaid puff paint sweatshirt and I knew him and I still didn't die the principal made him apologize but he wasn't sorry he's probably still swinging fists out there for all I know punching little girls with opinions and swagger what do I even know about being a grown woman and why do I tolerate the bare minimum of decency—a stranger didn't kill me today the boy on the bus didn't punch me today I paid my bills on time and ate a leafy vegetable—I am desperately looking for good days in bad places and everyone starts with what they can cobble together— oblong threads of lint, spare change, a tiny sliver of hope
Charlotte Seley is a poet, writer, and editor from the Hudson Valley region of New York, currently residing in Kansas City with her cat, Lord Byron. She is the author of The World is My Rival (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018) and the chapbook DIE YOUNG: LETTERS TO KE$HA (dancing girl press, 2019). Find her on the internet at charlotteseley.com.
Miriam Rae-Silver is an artist currently painting in oils and making comics. Her work can be seen at miriamraesilver.com.