This ZIne Will Change Your Life
  • Crocus by Alexandra Faye Carcich

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    These days of silence

    Lengthen as the grey expanse
    Winter without end.
    A poor thing is the first flower
    The single bud of a wilted mind.

     


    Alexandra Faye Carcich lives with husband and dog, in upstate NY. She dreams of having a published novel someday. Her work is featured in the Cupid&Psyche issue of Timeless Tale's Magazine.


    Street Artists unknown.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Zula is a Brooklyn-based Psych-Pop band, and "Lucy Loops" comes from their sophomore album, Grasshopper, which is due out on August 26th.

  • Blue Roses and Orange Stars by Bud Smith

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    The other night the sky got green and the wind ripped all the weeds out of the vacant lot by the liquor store. For once the lot looked nice. Lasted eight days before new weeds popped up, glory be.

    I stopped and picked up a bottle of wine. They give you a little card at that liquor store. Get ten holes punched you get a free bottle. So I got the free bottle. You don’t get to pick what kind, it’s whatever they want, but that’s how life works too.

    On the way home, the traffic light was malfunctioning but I was walking and it didn’t matter. Rumbles of thunder and there was a man in a wool cap and color block shirt smashing paintings into the wire mesh trash can the city puts there on the corner by our apartment. He looked sick and inconsolable. He looked typical of this world.

    I’d been fighting with my woman a lot because she said I care more about drinking than I do about anything else.

    So I interrupted the inconsolable man, asking if I could have the last canvases he was about to destroy in the city’s trash can. And you know what he did to me? The maggot, he spit on me, but it started to rain and I didn’t get as upset as I would have if it didn’t start to rain.

    He stepped back with his hands out like an airplane and when I reached down and grabbed the canvas, he shoved me and I fell over onto the concrete. Elbow scraped up and bleeding, but I laughed, I have’t bled like that since I was a child. It felt good in a way. He scooped up the bottle of wine, ran off with it, whatever variety and vineyard and grape it was.

    Inadvertently I used the canvas like an umbrella against the rainstorm that was slamming down on me. Inside the building, my wife was walking down the hallway with a towel wrapped just around her waist. “Should have seen me jump out of that shower when I saw that lightning … What’s that?”

    She meant the canvas, “It’s something some psychopath made.”

    I shook it and sheets of water slopped on the wall paper.

    She tilted her head and grinned. “It’s good …”

    I set the painting down in the hallway and kicked off my wet shoes and pulled my shirt over my head, kept going till all clothes were off, because we pay the mortgage and the electric and the gas and the telephone and I walked with my junk hanging out, to our living room.

    I liked the painting, and not just because she liked the painting. I’d like the painting if I was the only person on Earth. I’d been spit on for it. I’d had my blood spilled for it. I’d been robbed of the very juice that had started up civilization.

    It was abstract art. Blue roses tumbling into orange seven painted stars that were melting. I hung the abstract art in the center of the wall where the TV used to be until I threw away the TV because the shows kept getting better and we were supposedly in the golden age of TV and in the golden age of TV I wasn’t making any art of my own anymore. Neither was she.

    Our apartment is just eight feet above the street, and we don’t own blinds because if we wanted privacy we’d just live in the country and have cows understand? And outside the window, I heard screaming.

    I looked out the window and it was the man in the color block shirt who had been throwing out the painting. His hat was gone now.

    “I see your balls! And you’ve got it upside down!”

    “I’ve got what upside?”

    “The fucking painting, you fuck!” The empty wine bottle sailed through the window, destroying the screen, and the trajectory interrupted by the screen sent the bottle smashing on the hard wood floor.

    My wife rushed into the living room, and in the rush the towel had slipped away, so we were both there naked and she let out a curse as she stepped on some of the broken wine bottle and her foot opened up. Blood and broken glass on the living room floor.

    The man raved down the street, laughing and still inconsolable, but not on our street anymore. And my wife sat in the computer chair, wincing and looking at her cut foot. She pulled the calendar off the wall and used the calendar to stop the bleeding. Outside I saw the wind had ripped down a tree branch and it had fallen on a beautiful new car. Red. Shiny. Just waxed. Good! Fuck that car! Fuck that tree!

    I remember, the sky was bubblegum and there was an inexplicable rainbow I could see bending over the woman’s catholic university. This was all just an hour before nightfall. I pulled the glass out of her foot with tweezers. We drank bottles number nine and ten. Pinot noir grape, probably, this was just after that shitty movie about wine had come out and that was what the people at the liquor store were pushing.

    When the second thunderstorm came at 9pm, we were both done bleeding, and on the couch, according to our hindsight calculations, making our first daughter.

    I don’t know how we lived then.

     



    Bud Smith works heavy construction in New Jersey. His books are F250, Tollbooth, Calm Face and others.

    Street Artist unknown.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Mississippi native Dent May recently signed to Carpark Records, and last week he released his first single with the new label.

  • THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN by the Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

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    Welcome to my room. Yesterday you would not feel so welcome. I was in the seclusion room on restraints. I did not even do a thing to warrant such treatment. Some skinny white girl lied on me. I never threatened her. It is not my fault that my voice is booming. I’m not some tiny thing with a little girl voice. I’m six feet tall going on two hundred and fifty pounds. I can’t help it that I have a grown woman’s voice. It is not against the law to speak loud. But today I am back in this room on a bed without restraints. I can walk around and go into the dayroom if I like. But to be honest with you I want to get the fuck out of California. I have never been treated fairly here. I can’t keep a job or stay out of hospitals or jails. I never did drugs or abused alcohol. It is not my fault that Schizophrenia took a hold of my mind. All I did what fall in love right out of a high school with a man who promised me the world. How was I to know he was married with children? I lost my mind. My father, a pillar of the community, shunned me. He could not look at me without calling me jezebel and other choice words. My mother could not defend me because she was afraid of him and loved him more than his own children. All I could do is to get as far away from Georgia so I took a Greyhound to California. I could type pretty well and did some waitressing here and there. With medicine the Schizophrenia was controlled some. But after thirty years it has kicked the shit of out of me more than the times my mind was normal. I am ready to go back now, to Georgia. Perhaps father has forgiven me. My mother has gone to heaven. I want to go back and find what I have been missing all these years. I need an emergency ticket at the Greyhound Bus Station. When I get to Georgia I will sign a paper promising that I will pay back the ticket with interest. I can still type. It used to be 60 words per minute. I am down to 30 something words because the medicine slows me down. I need a bus ticket. I will even take Amtrak. I will go at any time. I’ll even take the midnight train to Georgia.


     
    Luis works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. He was born in Mexico and has been published in online and print journals for the past two decades. His first book of poetry Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His other chapbooks and poetry books have been published by Kendra Steiner Editions, Polish Beat Press, Propaganda Press/ Alternating Current Press, Poet's Democracy and Dead Beat Press.

    This Zine Will Change Your Life previously published The Dice by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal. Check it out.

    Street Art by Diana García.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Tuskha is solo project of Phil Moore (Bowerbirds) and "No Pain" comes from his recently released self-titled debut album.

  • Just Like Piero della Francesca Blues by Spencer Dew

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    My parody of insomnia is this tub of ranch dressing, the flakes


    of breading suspended in its thickness, which, with too much time, breaks,

    separating into slick layers, sticky lacquered mill town tavern, everyone

    in coats and hats, doors proper for the smokers, smoke blowing back in, crack

    of cue. You say, Certain faux-fur collars scream for a rough fuck, staring

    at the zippers and elastic on the short jacket of the little butter bodied brunette behind

    the counter. She stands on a rubber mat made out of holes. Denote, you say

    Command. A belt of cartridges, low-slung, and when an old man asked her

    Sweetie, what’s your real name, Sweetie? She said Sweetie without a smile.


    Denote, you say, Command. Her real name’s Amanda and she’s warned you never

    to call or text again, and especially no pictures—I will post them. I will forward them

    to your wife—but the bar’s not hers and she can’t excuse a way to keep you

    out, buying shot after shot, pricey craft beers, tailoring a theory of triggers,

    what necessarily and automatically leads to what. C-cups, you gesture

    toward them. And What I mean is: reducible to components, key attributes.

    That pout, you say, begging, comprehendible only in relation to force, to—She

    throws down a rag, goes out for a smoke. The cook guards the bar. The room

    is only men, most of them mean flirts and drunk, like you, even silent me, agreeing

    that those hips need to be harnessed, gripped, handled, ridden.


    Form and what we make of it. Fried cheese curds going

    cold, nights even the idea of sleep, relentless expanse, with nothing

    but these lumpy fantasies, some bottle-raven girl, in the image of punk,

    some barb of ink visible above her waistline, along the sharp edge of bone.

    The angle there, that diagonal. If only I was an artist, you say.

    Chiaroscuro: her jawline. Clean like Piero della Francesca.

    At the sports-themed bar in the mill town where the college crowd is only

    Sometimes tolerated. Cutting you off, professor, says that little

    masturbation fantasy in knee-high boots. And it is well-timed.

    I have to carry you out into the night, reeling, ranting about the reeling stars:

    Amanda and Amanda, such heavenly glory, to hear your muffled groans


    Form and our memories of it, imagining an image and then its heft,

    the three-dimensionality of her, split open, held in each of my palms

    eating her like a slice of melon, you say, your accent coming back

    not that we aren’t pretending to try to pass as natives, not that you didn’t

    fuck that up plenty with your talk of causation or the Renaissance

    Is it the Renaissance, even? Piero della Francesca: perspective, tiles of light.

    This is the bridge the kid climbed down from, to enter the water between pieces

    of ice. These are the tatters of police line. And there, you say, is the moon. But

    you have some trouble locking it in your sights. Out beyond the beyond.

    You are drunk, and then you are back home, where your wife is waiting up,

    everything like a tv mini-series of itself, except all the rough sex lines, and I am alone,

    first with streetlamps, then the single pointless hallway of my place


    There is no dreaming. Hold this, turn it over, for hours and

    without end, the same phrases repeating, the same memories:

    of a downcast glance, the texture of her mascara accumulated at the very edge.

    A fracture of form: lines bleeding into lines, replaced by some dumb

    sense, some thrusting need for, where your phrases add

    flavor, resistance to the thrust. I think of her and of you watching

    her, think of watching you take her, think of her along a spectrum of

    states, open-mouthed with ecstasy (straddling, for instance, shirtless, armpits

    exposed, hands tangling her hair) and also in fear (tears, but more than tears,

    that hopelessness you spoke of when the only option is to endure,

    bite something, wait, pace. A shadow life, night hissing lukewarm

    from the radiators, the sky, the triggers fingered silently, alone.

     

     


    Spencer Dew is the author of the novel "Here Is How It Happens," (Ampersand, 2013) the story collection "Songs of Insurgency," (Vagabond, 2008) and the chapbook "Monte Saint Michel and Chartres" (Another New Calligraphy, 2010), as well as the critical study "Learning for Revolution: the Work of Kathy Acker" (San Diego State University Press, 2011).

    This Zine Will Change Your Life previously published First Things by Spencer Dew. Check it out.

    Street Art by Marlene.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Stockholm's Magic Potion released their debut album, Pink Gum, on May 27th via PNK SLM Records.

  • Class of 1997 by J. Bradley

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    Helen thumbs through my yearbook, asks where I am. I shrug, tell her how I didn’t want proof of my awkward fashion sense for future generations to stumble onto. Helen pats her belly, wonders how the child will learn from my mistakes if there isn’t any proof of them. He is proof, I say in the way that sounds like a joke.

     


    J. Bradley is the author of the forthcoming story collection, The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016).

    This Zine Will Change Your Life previously published Chicken Little by J. Bradley. Check it out.

    Street art by Twazzo.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Pollyn is a Trip Hop trio based in LA and "Too Late to Change the Past" is the lead single from their third album Distress Signals, out May 13th.

  • Always The Friend by Alyssa Murphy

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    It’s freshman year of college when you meet her. Freshman year of college, a time of
    upheaval for all parties involved, definitely not helped by the fact that you just had your growth spurt last year and are now tall and lanky and awkward. As if that weren’t enough to make your life miserable, you’ve retained most of the traits that got you through most of high school at five foot four: rapier wit, an inability to give up once you’ve latched onto something, and a keen eye for when to duck. In college, if it weren’t for that girl, you’d be dead before Christmas break.

    But you find her and all is right with the world. Belle – and you’re pretty sure that’s short for something but you don’t dare ask – is petite, blonde, and utterly terrifying. She wears four-inch heels for all occasions, even an ill-advised mini-golf outing, and even then you have a solid six inches on her. As if that even matters. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in personality, and everyone is either in love with her or convinced she’s going to give birth to the Antichrist. You, naturally, are in the former camp.

    You become friends with her, this big-eyed girl and her ambitions, and soon enough you start following her around like a puppy because you’ve nothing better to do. You’re both journalism majors with three of five classes in common, and she helps you with your French homework because she took it in high school and lectures you about choosing an easier science class when she ended up in blasted Physics because of a cute boy. You start to suspect that’s how she makes all her decisions, but you don’t dare say that aloud. You worship her. You love her.

    She comes home with you for winter break because she’s got no family to speak of – a leech of a mother, you’ve discovered, but nothing proper. All you’ve got is your dad, but when you explain you’re bringing someone home to take up residence in the guest room for a couple of weeks, no questions are asked.

    On New Year’s Eve, you steal a bottle of wine from your dad’s supply and the two of you are lightweights so it doesn’t take long before everything’s out in the open, before you try to kiss her and aim badly and end up sucking on her ear and she’s laughing hysterically and you can’t stop. “Wanted your lips,” you manage to explain, trying to keep a straight face.

    “We could grow old together,” she sighs, resting her head against your shoulder.

    It’s in that moment that you know it’ll never happen. Girls like her, boys like you… it was a cute delusion while it lasted, but all good things must end.

    Over the next three years, you try to love her from a distance. You watch, trying not to scream, as she dates a series of utterly awful creatures. For a while she seems to have a thing for bartenders, but then she switches it up with a young businessman who doesn’t reveal he’s married until after they’ve slept together three times. This is her undoing. Belle is the queen of gray morality, but there are some lines even she won’t cross and that’s not one she care to think about.

    The night of Dick the dick, as you lovingly call the person in question, she turns up at your door at two in the morning with ruined makeup and you don’t ask questions until she’s done with thoroughly soaking your t-shirt. You just stay there, holding her shaking body against yours on  the battered couch, and let her break down. Feelings be damned, she’s your best friend and you aim to do right by her however you can.

    “What happened?” you ask when she seems to have calmed down.

    “I ruined it,” she whispers. “I ruined everything.”

    “I could’ve told you about Dick – I’ve met his wife, lovely woman – but…”

    “Then why didn’t you?” Belle gasps, and you’re amazed that she can break this terribly.

    “Because my motives aren’t pure,” you somehow manage to say. “If it were just him being an awful person, it’d be one thing, but… dammit, Belle Lennox, I am madly in love with you.”

    It’s two in the morning on a Saturday in early March and it is your turn to be vulnerable. You take a few deep breaths, then try to defend yourself. “I’m sorry, this isn’t how I meant to say it, but…”

    “It’s okay,” she murmurs, face pressed against the smooth skin of your neck. For a heartbeat, you imagine her lips on every part of you and turn scarlet. “I like you being in love with me.”

    It’s not reciprocation. It’s not much of anything, really. But it’s her, the girl who’s destined to ruin you, so you’ll take it. “Thank you, because I don’t think this’ll stop anytime soon.”

    “Good.”

    She falls asleep like that, nestled against you, and you join her a few minutes later because there’s nothing else to do. And in the morning, when she wakes you with the gentle press of her lips on hers, you start to wonder if you’ll always be damned to be her friend…



    Alyssa Murphy is a shopgirl, writer, and general creative type. Her work has previously been published in The Storyteller and The Tower Journal. She is currently based in southeast Indiana.

    Street Art is titled 'Ghost Girl' and its by Matt Siren.
    Photograph by Adam Lawrence.

    Overcoats is a NYC-based electro-folk duo and they released "Nighttime Hunger" as a single in February of 2016.

  • FORTUNE by Joseph Goosey

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    On Sunday the woman I love’s six year old son pulled down my pants

    While I was trying to scrape eggs from a spatula
    His nose was more or less an inch or two away
    From breaching the point of insertion into my ass
    I considered farting
    (he just loves that shit)
    But refrained
    “There’s goose bumps on your butt” he said
    “Your hands are cold” I said
    Laughs were had by all
    In any another context
    I could be arrested for that experience
    Not at the time of offense
    But seventeen years later
    When the problems inside anyway
    Begin to assume the effrontery
    It could go either way
    Something I will find out
    And you will forget

     

    Joseph Goosey lives in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Four chapbooks have been published including, most recently, STUPID ACHE from Grey Book Press.

    This Zine Will Change Your Life previously published BLUE DEVILS by Joseph Goosey. Check it out.

    Street Artist unknown.
    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    Shah Jahan is a Chicago-based Psych-Pop band who released their debut EP in 2015 and the single "Baby Blaise" in January 2016.

     

  • Address Book: Excerpts by Meghan Lamb

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    42W349 Hunters Hill Dr

    St. Charles, IL 60175

    The yards are separate in this neighborhood, divided by shrubs, fences, trees, sloped drives, and flowered bushes. We sit on our deck. The deck is stained wood, not a concrete slab. My father stands and grills. My mother sits and sips a glass of wine. 

    She looks toward the woods. She says, come here. I sit down next to her. She runs her fingers through my hair. She looks away from me.

    My little sister’s getting old enough to play with. We make paper dolls and paper airplanes that do not fly anywhere. We write in diaries that we pretend to hide from one another. We ride bikes in circles round the cul de sac. 

    My sister calls my name across the room at night. 

    She says, I saw a ghost. 

    It looked like you, if all your colors were sucked out.

    She says, I didn’t feel afraid. You shouldn’t feel afraid. 

    There is no reason. We agree that ghosts are just a fact of life.

    My mother stands behind me in the mirror. 

    She sprays a vapor cloud of hairspray on my hair, then on her own.

    Before I go to sleep, I stand behind the footboard of my bed. I bend and press my stomach down into the edge. I feel like something’s getting sucked out from my body, something that was trapped. I breathe in little breaths, my fingers tracing round my hipbones. 

    I walk from room to room and lie down on the sunbeams. All the rooms are strange. They all seem larger than they need to be. My mother is complaining to my dad about the house, again. She wants to move into another house for sale in the neighborhood. 

    I hear the distant humming of our neighbor’s lawn mower. It creeps in closer, closer, as it moves across the lawn. I close my eyes as I imagine moving to another house, and then another, til we’ve lived in every house within this neighborhood. 

     
    *
     

    4N258 Mark Twain St

    Campton Hills, IL 60175

    Every day, the babysitter picks me up from school. We drive through town to pick my sister up from daycare. Her car is brown. It smells like cigarettes and dogs, although she doesn’t have a dog and I have never seen her smoking. 

    We pick my sister up and we drive to the grocery store. The grocery store has three columns in front with concrete arches. My sister rides inside the cart. The babysitter lets me push the cart around while she goes through the aisles.

    While she goes through the aisles, I wheel the cart up to the glass case in the wall. Inside the case, a monkey lives, alone. There is a little fake tree and a little rubber ball, a little plastic toy the monkey’s chewed to almost disappearance. 

    Behind the glass, the case is made of concrete, like a zoo, but it is smaller than the window of a pet store. I hold up my hand, then press it to the glass. The monkey inches close enough that I can see his sad black eyes. 

    Years later, I am driving past the babysitter’s house. My mother’s riding in the front seat and my sister’s in the back. I say, do you remember when we saw that monkey in the grocery store? The one who lived inside a glass case in the wall?

    My sister says she did, she did! What was the monkey doing there?

    I know, I say. I don’t know. What a bad place for a monkey!

    My mother looks at us like we’re both crazy. 

    I have never seen a monkey in a grocery store.

     

    *

     

    5 N 5th St

    Geneva, IL 60134

    I hate ballet because I have to watch my movements in the mirror. I clench my teeth. I clench the bar and try to look away.

    My teacher comes behind me. Her breath smells like tuna salad. 

    She says, focus, focus. She says, look at what you’re doing.

    I look at the mirror and I think, demi plié, grand plié.

    I look at the mirror and I look around me at the other girls.

    I look at the mirror and I look at how my stomach sticks out.

    I look at the mirror and I think, I’m fat. 

    Another girl looks at me in the mirror.

    I look down.

    The teacher comes behind me. 

    Focus, focus! Tuna breath.

    The only part of class I like is when the teacher lets us choose a bunch of colored scarves out of a bin. She plays Swan Lake on her boom box. She says, feel the music. She tells us to channel what we feel through our dancing.

    I always think of this, years later, whenever I watch that breaking down scene in A Woman Under The Influence. Gena Rowlands plays Swan Lake. She keeps announcing that it’s perfect. She tells her children to dance like they’re dying. Die, now!

    I dance like I’m dying. That is what I feel from the music. I think, Die, now! and I lie down on my back. The other girls are still dancing around me. I watch, from below. I watch their flailing pink skirts and their scurried shuffled movements. 

    *

    103 E Lincoln

    Pesotum, IL 61863

    On our way to the family reunion, the baked beans explode. They explode from the pot and they flow out all over the van. It’s August and the summer sun makes sticky pools of everything as we kneel, scooping, scrubbing, while my mom says, shit. 

    We file down a long line of our relatives, of picnic tables filled with food.

    We fill our plates with things that we can eat.

    My dad can’t have dessert because he’s diabetic.

    My sister can’t have chips because she’s overweight.

    I tell my mom, this year, I am not going to eat meat. I tell her, this year, I’m becoming vegetarian.

    She tells me I can be a vegetarian when I turn 10. She watches to make sure I take a chicken leg.

    I scrape the fried skin off the chicken’s leg.

    I look beneath the twists of bluish veins.

    I scrape my fork until the leg is just an empty bone.

    I look around me and I think, we’re eating what’s inside of us.

     
    *

    42W068 Hunters Hill Dr

    St. Charles, IL 60175

    My mother makes me be friends with the daughter of her friend. I do not like the way this girl is always smelling her own hands. At least her house has interesting stuff. Her basement’s filled with boxes of old hats and gloves and jewelry and dresses.

    I put on a blue dress.

    She puts on yellow dress.

    My dress smells like an old book. 

    Her dress smells like chicken soup.

     

    I think that we should switch, she says. We switch. We look at ourselves in the full length mirror. 

    We take the dresses off. We stand inside their crumpled shells.

    I look at her, then look down. I ask, so, what does it feel like?

    What does what feel like?

    Having…you know. I cover up my naked chest.

    She says, like nothing. There’s just something there, one day. 

    You just get used to it.

    I look back down. I see, I say.

    I sneak a quick peak at her pointy nipples. 

    In the kitchen, her mother is cutting slices of fresh baked zucchini bread. She puts two slices on a plate for each of us.

    I say, no thank you. I’m not hungry. I already had lunch.

    It’s not lunch. She frowns. It’s just a snack, she says. 

    Beneath the table, I am rolling my thumbs round my wrist bone. 

    I am measuring the width that it should be.

     

    *

     

    77 Maple Court

    Decatur, IL 62526

    My grandmother’s house is filled with blonde wood paneling. The pale wood reflects the gauzy shadows from the curtains. Everything is shades of white, or yellow white. Checkered linoleum. Chenille coverlets. A mason jar of lemon drops.

    Her house smells like old wood, sun crisped lace, and, emerging from the kitchen, endless streams of watery brewed coffee. 

    There is a wardrobe in the basement with a mirror in the door. When I was little, I would hide inside the wardrobe. Now, I open up the wardrobe, take my clothes off, and look in the mirror. I shift my body side to side. I move the mirror back and forth.

    In her bedroom, there’s a crucifix. The cross is made of wood. Jesus is made of bone white, molded, chiseled plastic. The drops of perspiration, tears, and blood are also white, carved plastic outlines. He is naked. The nails in his hands and feet are real nails.

    I sit next to my grandmother and page through her photo albums.

    Is he dead? I ask.

    She says, yes.

    Is she dead? I ask.

    She says, yes.

    Are they dead? I ask.

    She says, some are, some aren’t.

    I nod. That dress is beautiful.

    She says, I loved that dress.

    There are two scales in the house, one in the upstairs bathroom, one inside the basement bathroom, tucked inside a cabinet. 

    On the scale upstairs, I weigh 87 pounds. 

    On the scale in the basement, I weigh 86. 

    I shift. 86.5.  

    I shift again. 86.

    86.5.

    86.

    86.5.

    *

    22655 W South St

    Lake Geneva, WI 53147

    The counselors call it outdoor ed. I’m staying in a room with two bunks and three other girls that I just met. We made friends on the bus when we discovered how much we all love The X-Files, though we aren’t allowed to watch.

    We run through the snowing hills and we take pictures. I take pictures of a dead tree and a half collapsed old barn. The hills are white rounds tipped with shades of trees and blackish brown triangles. We climb to the highest triangle and sled all the way down.

    That night, inside the room, one of the girls says, let’s pretend we’re ghosts. We wrap ourselves in sheets. She says, okay. Now all we need is make-up. She does not have make-up. I do not have make-up. None of us has any make-up. So, we put the sheets back on our beds.

    My new best friend whispers, I’ve seen a real ghost, but I was not afraid.

    I say, you shouldn’t be afraid. 

    The food here sucks. We all agree the food here sucks. I vow that for the whole two weeks we’re here, I’ll just eat cornflakes. My friends laugh. They say, me too, but after the first night, they all go back to eating what they’re given. I’m the only one who doesn’t eat the food.

    One of the counselors notices that I’m not eating.

    My best friend says, it’s okay. She really, really just likes cornflakes.

    I feel sick. I can’t go out today. I’m tired. My best friend gives me her gameboy. She says, please get better soon. By the end of the trip, I don’t fit into any of my clothes. My mother picks me up and drives me through the winter dusk in silence.

    We stop at the drug store. She takes in my camera. She buys me a gallon of water, sits, and makes me drink the whole thing in the car. 

    She hands me my photos. I open up the envelop. 

    The pictures are just black rectangles, blurs, white fields of nothing.

     

    Meghan Lamb lives with her husband in St. Louis. Her novella, Sacramento, was recently released on Solar Luxuriance. Her book, Silk Flowers, is forthcoming in early 2016 from Birds of Lace. Her work can also be found in The Collagist, Necessary Fiction, Spork, wigleaf, and other places.

    Street Art by stikman.

    Photo by Adam Lawrence.


    Post Animal
    is a psych-rock band from Chicago and "Goggles" comes from their new EP, Post Animal Perform The Most Curious Water Activities.