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S.J. CHRISTMASS

MATTHEW D READING

FIRST OF THE MONTH



Stephanie Valente,
First of the Month


We moved into a new apartment with iron windows and the old tenants left behind some hangers, dress shoes, and empty mason jars. We peeled through their lost memories lie hungry ghosts. Swishing and making coffee, wondering what their lives were like. I pretended not to notice that your ecstasy habit followed up to the new place and I still made eggs in the morning. You sauntered in with tuxedo pants and no shirt, asking for the paper and a kiss.

I gave it, pouring the coffee like steaming syrup, waiting for the mismatched hello's, with your hand going underneath my shirt. I still had some magazines hiding from our former apartment with pretty women in fancy dresses, tightened belts, crystal hair pins, big, wet clay colored red lips and alabaster glitter skin. Sometimes I wrote about them and wondered what their lives were like. Clearly, they knew the old tenants with the dress shoes. They matched your tuxedo pants. I rubbed your skin after breakfast, paying special attention to your shoulders.

I took a tab with my coffee. You put it in the eggs. I curled up underneath your legs and we talked about ghosts and wallpaper. Someday, someone will find a secret diary I left in a drawer or the closet. There will be a security deposit receipt and recorded history of furled limbs spent over drowsy cups and apparitions in the walls.