42 S. Deacon St. #5

By Michael Grant Smith

You cannot stand at least fifty things about her, maybe a thousand:

She is soft and smells nice. Talks on the phone all weekend. Cooks your favorite meals without being asked. Throws your Maxim magazines on the floor when she’s angry with you. Makes love like a hungry sailor. Is sad when an animal gets hurt. Loses your car keys. Speaks four languages. Asks your opinion and listens to your response as if it matters. There’s more.

DeaconStreetThat one time outside of your adorado Peruvian restaurant, when you’re an asshole and make her cry. You know your words tear wet wounds — her face never conceals emotion (another thing about her you despise). Then she punches you right in the Southern Hemisphere; a solid uppercut with lots of follow through. Really bends her knees and puts her back into it. At that moment, you’re reminded you hate her kickboxing classes and all of those softball games she plays. Instead of calling the cops, bystanders applaud her assaulting you, so fuck them, too.

One month later, she sets aside her book and descends the limestone steps, past her scooter, continues up the street. Maybe someone called her name, softly or a trick of the wind, and the sound didn’t land on your ears. In the doorway you pretend not to watch her until she turns on Hudson Avenue and the Walgreens blocks your view.

You’re certain she has never understood the innermost you and what you bring. A year passes and you’ve begun to doubt she is coming back. Her stuff is still all around the apartment as she left it. You think so, but you’re not sure. You don’t remember what is hers and what is yours.

Michael Grant Smith wears sleeveless T-shirts, weather permitting. His writing has appeared in elimae, Ghost Parachute, The Airgonaut, formercactus, The Cabinet of Heed, Ellipsis Zine, Spelk, Hypnopomp, Soft Cartel, and other publications. Michael resides in Ohio. He has traveled to Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Cincinnati. To learn too much about Michael, please visit www.michaelgrantsmith.com and @MGSatMGScom.

Art by Lesley C. Weston (Alcohol Ink and Pen)

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