Sprawl

(Courtesy of Cloves Literary Journal)

Every night before the sun goes down, we emerge Zombie-eyed with limp-wristed waves, never making eye contact as we stroll the painstakingly prepackaged and preplanned neatly stacked beige stucco cottages that from space surely look like a field of tombstones thrusting out of swamplands and the remains of alligators and oyster shells plowed over and made smooth with concrete like a back-to-school night cake and we, the walking dead, clutching neon-blue bags bulging with dog shit like some prized goldfish from a county fair all the while making innocuous small talk “sure is warm for the middle of October” when we really want to scream that an hour after you leave in the morning a pick-up truck and cowboy boots arrives at your house and leaves before lunch earning his glinting rodeo belt buckle, but instead we keep it to ourselves to maintain an air of superiority and focus on mediocre achievements of even less mediocre children but at least mine isn’t hooked on oxy and you laugh because you’re pretty sure your daughter got pregnant at a house party you hosted last week because you want to be the cool parents and drink with the teens so you can pretend you’re still a teen and hope that someone looks at you that way so you still feel something because you feel absolutely nothing every time you slither into your own bed, and because our dogs shit at the same time somehow we’ve been consecrated as friends and you feel comfortable asking me if I’m into the “lifestyle” and I look at you with glazed-over deadened eyes because I tuned you out the moment you said “good evening” and I have no idea what you’re talking about, and you want to know if I’m interested in swinging because you think my wife is appealing and my wife and I barely speak let alone fuck so what makes you think we would want to add you to the mix and instead of smashing the steaming pile of feces against your face for decorum’s sake and the peace of the neighborhood, I joke about being a Cro-Magnon and incapable of sharing or opening myself up but I appreciate the offer and I guess your wife isn’t too bad either and I probably wouldn’t mind seeing her in her finest Walmart lingerie while we drink too much cheap box wine and choke on limp shrimp still in their packaged polystyrene ring and smoke shitty weed because you’re too cheap to go to a dispensary and pay for something decent and strong enough to float me above the Spanish tile roofs and over the preserves and out to the bay where I could float away to Mexico where nobody would know me and I would have no memory of me or I could sink to oblivion and let the crabs have their way with me, washing up on shore in bits and pieces of microplastics and alabaster.

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