Issue 108 Fiction Poetry Nonfiction Art + Photography Film Music Books For Creators more


 Ally Malinenko
 Ally Malinenko
by Ally Malinenko  FollowFollow
Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone, How To Be An American (Six Gallery Press), Better Luck Next Year ( more Ghost Press) as well as a forthcoming book of poetry called Fitting the Ocean in Your Mouth (Blue Hour Press). She tweets @allymalinenko mostly about Doctor Who
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What age is it,
I ask him sitting at the bar,
my fingers ripping the paper open
and pulling out the bandaid,
sucking the blood off my finger,

What age is it, that you finally become
the kind of person who has bandaids there
and ready just in case you cut yourself?

Who are those people
and how do they pull it off?
I ask wrapping it around my bloody fingertip
and throwing the wrapper back in the shopping bag.

Who are these people? How do they manage?

People with kids, he offers.
And maybe that is true. Maybe once you have a child
you live in a space where anticipation is air and necessary.
You have to be ready for any little thing.

I have no bandaids at home.
When I slice my finger on your razor, I have no bandaids.
No Maalox on the shelf for stomach ache.
We must put on hats and coats and trudge out into the world
hot churning stomach and all.
No extra package of tin foil
when the current one runs out
but not completely covering the leftover pizza.

My life is fits and starts,
epileptic and sleepless, wrapped tight in the sheets.
I do not have any bandaids,
or an extra jar of sauce if we want to change up dinner.
I do not have napkin rings,
fresh arugula,
or extra pillows.
I do not have a spare bedroom,
or a variety of coffee,
candy or tea.
I do not have enough tissues.

But I do have all of Beethoven’s symphonies
as well as Dvorak’s. I have a new set of Proust,
and stacks of books on the floor
(because I do not have enough shelf space)
I have a box of oil paints,
3 beers in the fridge
a bottle of cheap scotch
and some empty canvases
which also,
catch blood, quite well.



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