Prose by Savannah Louise

naked

we took off all our clothes on top of nick’s roof last
night, kind of drunk but mostly just in love. the
sultry city air hung in sopping swells between the
bricks & treelimbs & traffic lights, connecting
everything by inconquerable phanthom-dusk. we dragged
up some beers and a couple blankets that didn’t smell
like cat-piss and fell asleep under the electric
wasabi green of the midtown sign.

“midtow” it said, because the giant “n” had burned
out.

in the morning the world looked very thin and very
blue until the cyclops sun opened its bright peppery
eye and began to sting the world. we were roused by
the terrible shrieking of brakes & a dull thump. we
scrambled to the ledge to see the smash, nick rooting
things like “fuck you asshole” in a silly voice.
from above we were shiny gods, peering down with
disdain on the lilliputian populace at the corner of
lake & chicago.

the accident scene took up the whole intersection. it
didnt look frightening. it looked like scale model
toys
on a five year olds floor. the lady in the
crumpled car opened the drivers door in a huff. she
had tight curly hair and high waisted pants. she
looked kindof bruised but i dont know. the man who hit
her walked slowly. he was younger, and wore khakis. a
single policeman started walking towards the scene,
broad shouldered and important. we burst out
laughing.

the air is warm for december. I’m leaning out of the
passenger seat window, into the fog. cheap cigarette
smoke lingers against the sagging roof inside the
car, a hanging plague from which I cannot escape. mom
adjusts her low v-neck. she switches smoking hand to
driving hand so she can ash out of the window.
“honey, what are you doing?”
eyes half shut against the cold wind, i am observing
the flat impenetrable landscape of this pitiful town.
there are no stars.
“honey, roll up the window, i’m cold. its wintertime.”
i open my mouth slightly and the air glides sharp
through the spaces in my teeth, right to the roots. i
pretend i’ve been dropped into the world only just
now.

i then decide i want to go back to not having been
dropped into the world at all.
“ruby!”
i pull my head back into the car. mom takes a drag of
her cigarette, the bright end glimmering as she does.
she looks somewhat irritated. she opens her mouth to
say something about being cold again but instead she
says nothing. she looks out at the cold dark road
ahead of us. it is always moving, it never stops. i
look out, too.
we say nothing.

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