Monday, 3 September 2018

A poem by Rachael Jean

To Wake Again

A room the color of light
passing through a beer bottle.
The bar swells with bald men—
fat, with hair on their knuckles.
One hand around a drink, the other
on the hips, love handles, asses
of their women—fake blondes

in cotton sundresses cackling.
I order a fingerprinted glass
of Aztec honey,
watch the bartender
pour tequila. Juan
sits beside me—
black-haired, paunched,

añejo-colored skin.
He is here every time I am.
A regular. Sucks down margaritas
and tall boys of PBR, tries to dance
with waitresses
to the shitty cover band.
“To your parents,”

he turns to me, raising his glass
with a thick, unsteady hand,
“for making such a beautiful daughter.”
We fake love for the night—
hold each other and sway
until the streetlights

turn black. Then, each couple
files out, careful not to trip
down the front step. We shrink
into rusting cars, a rising sun,

go home to bad sex
and sleep until 1 pm,
only to wake again in a place
that once seemed so ugly
so impossible to own.

Rachael Jean's work has appeared in Bop Dead City. A Massachusetts native, Rachael currently teaches English Language Arts at a middle school just outside of Boston. Her work largely revolves around the themes of family, sexuality, and her hometown.

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