December 2012 - Comments Off

Hicksville

Laura Creste '13

An hour west toward the beginning of Long Island, we drive
to a party in Hicksville. We pass streets of one-story houses.
Airplanes fly over more than birds.

The show in the backyard has a porch as a makeshift stage, blocked
by a blue hydrangea. The hosts are wide-eyed on coke and their mother
spoons baked beans and macaroni salad onto paper plates.

I am creeping out one of the boys with long hair who stares too long
when I speak. A. begins unpacking his keyboard case
and I sit on a lounge chair, buy a beer, and break mosquitos open

against my legs. I think I should stop eating sugar. I am tired
of the grotesque blood-suck-burst. My boyfriend does not attract
mosquitos, only women. He was born without wisdom teeth or myopia.

I feel primitive with childbearing hips, peasant hands.
Hours pass, as they should, on time. Inside I wait for the bathroom,
and watch a Proactiv infomercial in the dark living room that smells

of cigarettes and family dinners. In the bathroom, boys are busy dividing
$100 worth of cocaine. “What’s she doing in here?” the longhaired boy
whispers, pulling a bottle of absinthe from the freezer.

People drinking absinthe are boring in their need to be acknowledged.
He will talk about it for the rest of the night. “I’m waiting
for the bathroom.” “Oh, sorry.” He is startled that I heard him.

Still he takes me aside to tell me, sincerely, that my boyfriend
is so talented. “Hold on to him, he’ll be famous.” The glow
of the infomercial throws light across his face, the eyes exhaustingly alert.

His brother is purported to be a professional pick up artist.
He gave lessons in cunnilingus at Stony Brook.
“Like the school actually hired him?”

On the lawn I’m sitting next to the pick up artist
because he’s asked me if I like his band. I see my boyfriend
taking down a girl’s phone number. “I liked the Neil Young cover,” I say

because it’s half true. He’s speedy and feels like talking.
“Smell my hair. It’s women’s shampoo, you know why?
Because girls are territorial, and they’re more attracted

to a man if they smell a woman on him.” “That sounds like bullshit.”
“It’s true. You know what else?” - he is giving me his innocuous secrets
because I don’t matter to him. “Fear makes a girl more attracted

to the guy she’s with. So that’s why you should take a girl
to a scary movie, or on a rollercoaster.” “Alright, pheromones,”
I allow. “Yeah. I give lessons on this, you know.” A. returns

to tap me on the shoulder. By midnight we drive the rest of the band
to the LIRR station, to deliver them to the city. We head east on 27
until we stop at a diner when I am lightheaded in a way I can’t identify,

like an eyeglass prescription made a fraction too strong.
“I think there’s something wrong, but I might just be imagining it”
which is a problem for me always. The diner was voted best

on Long Island in 2004 and 2006. We order a Belgian waffle,
two eggs over easy, and fries. Abruptly he says “That girl wants
to go to my shows. She lives in Queens - She likes my brother, anyway.”

The neat yellow yolks sit like closed eyes.
“I wouldn’t flirt with a girl right in front of you.”
He asks me who I was talking to earlier and I say a very sober boy,

who asked pointedly what I do. I shrugged write, and he guessed poetry.
Emboldened by his rightness he ventured, I bet you have a special place
where you write in your house, like by a window overlooking a lake.

No, I said recoiling. A. tells me, “I can imagine you’re impossible to flirt with.”
“You think I’m not funny?” I hate the word flirt with its awkward phonetics,
the frivolous letter f, the harsh end of consonants. He cuts the waffle

with the edge of his fork. He is never worried someone could take me
from him. I realized I’m not stoned from the downwind of a blunt,
only sickened by my sister’s perfume on the cardigan pulled out of the hamper.

Victoria’s Secret is a poisonous vanilla. For fifty miles we pass
deer grazing on the Sunrise. I hate them for their stupidity.
They wait to be harmed like a lesson in repetition.

Published by: in Poetry, Volume 69: Issue 1

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