Rebekah Bergman

The Has-Been

I wake under the sun that was shining 8 minutes ago. I think, “Maybe it’s already burnt out.” Today is either Memorial Day or it is not. This was true yesterday when I woke up as well.
I teach. My students look like my students from last semester. I walk around their canvases saying, “There has been a man named de Kooning” and, “There has been a movement called surrealism.” One student is named Frida. There has been a woman named Frida.
At the café, I order what I ordered last time. The waitress says, “The usual then?” and smiles. It is always the usual.
Outside there is a crafts fair. A man in a booth calls himself an up-cycler. “See this wallet?” he brags. “It used to be a milk carton.”
“Don’t kid yourself,” I tell the up-cycler. “It still is.”
It is sunset when I get to the hospital. I am meeting my just-born nephew. The cord on his belly button is rotten and shriveled. Already, a festering wound. He looks like I will look one day—toothless, wrinkled, a lump. I hold him by the armpits.
 “What do you think of this new guy?” My sister is beaming.
 “He’s a has-been,” I hand him back. “He’s all washed up.”

Rebekah Bergman's recent work appears in Necessary Fiction and Literary Orphans. Her chapbook of prose poems, "Greeting Cards for Every Occasion," is forthcoming from White Knuckle Press in 2015. She lives in Brooklyn.

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