Stephanie Goehring

Self-portrait as "Stephanie Has Died of Dysentery"

I take my lover's prescriptions
home for Christmas
and hole-up solo in a hostel
with beach-scene murals
in every bathroom just begging
for a poorly drawn tsunami.
Shame I'm not equipped
with a dick, but I don't dwell.
Instead I scrawl "MERRY
ME" on the beach scene
in the bathroom closest to me
using permanent marker
they can paint over.
And they will.
In my room I boomerang
between the traffic in my mouth
and the empty freeway
I've never seen.
I think back to trying to walk
carefully across a series of massive roots
pushing up from the ground
where there was no tree.
I turn on the television
so someone can hear me.
Everything happens accidentally.
I'm chucking empty bottles
against concrete, writing a letter
to the woman I love
on my favorite jeans,
saying how happy I am
that I brought her with me.
I text my lover "I'm not sorry."
Resting my head against the beach
I see someone has inked, after me,
THE DAY!" in the breeze,
but they're wrong. They're always wrong.
That phrase actually means
"Pluck the day," like a flower.
To tell someone to seize
in Latin, you have to say "rape"
(rhymes with "cop pay")
but everyone has forgotten.
In big black marker
where the sun used to be
alone, I write "IT'S RAPE
and go back to my room
where there's a pawn shop
on the TV and someone
has been crying into my beer.

Stephanie Goehring is co-author, with Jeff Griffin, of the chapbook I Miss You Very Much (Slim Princess Holdings, 2011/13) and author of the chapbook This Room Has a Ghost (dancing girl press, 2010). Find her online here.

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