Prose by Drew Kalbach

the girl in my vent: mustache

The girl in my vent has a long curling beard. She keeps bird eggs
tucked back toward her chin that she occasionally removes and cooks
for breakfast. Her beard gets caught beneath her knees when she crawls
around inside my vent. She talks on the phone to her mother about
proper beard hygiene. Twice a week she slips out of my vent and into
my bathroom to shampoo her beard. Sometimes she allows the bird eggs
in her beard to hatch. She trains the birds to deliver secret messages
to other people living in other vents around the world.

The girl in my vent shaved her beard into a handlebar mustache last
Tuesday. She said it made her feel sexier. She sits in my vent and
strokes her mustache gently and observes the aluminum walls beginning
to rust and she throws bird eggs into my room and laughs when I ask
her to stop. The girl in my vent’s mustache is the most beautiful
thing I have ever seen.

the girl in my vent: murmuring

The girl in my vent sits next to my wall and murmurs something about
Jewish terrorist cells in Eastern Europe. She says she has plans to
escape to Jerusalem, to hide in some poor family’s basement until all
fifty-six terrorists are caught. The girl in my vent dyes her hair
and wears colored contacts for three weeks. She murmurs late at night
about purring cats and the dog she had when she was a child that was
hit by a car six times before it died on the sidewalk in front of her
then-boyfriend’s house.

The girl in my vent murmurs that she misses her parents. She says she
wants to fly her mother in from Denver so she can live with her in my
vent. She says she isn’t sure she deserves another human being but her
mother is a rat and rats create rats so there is not much of a
problem. The girl in my vent watches daytime television all day at a
very loud volume and cries softly to herself. The girl in my vent is
afraid of earthquakes and extremely tall buildings. The girl in my
vent says that if one day we found ourselves alone in a desert without
food or water or any prospects of finding food or water then we could
get married and live happily until our bodies begin to decompose and
we mingle with the wildlife. The girl in my vent murmurs into my ear
that one day we will be cacti sucking invisible moisture from
invisible wells thousands of feet beneath the ground.

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