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She Goes Like

John Reibetanz
From:   Near Relations, McClelland and Stewart, 2005.


It's character assassination time
next to Captain Video, at Mr. Game's
arcade. Cool neon surf breaks over them,

green and purple rippling the metal O's
on lip or lobe. They breathe out a clear gas
of words to warm themselves. Ashley's exposed

navel shivers when they start in on Mr.
Spinelli's homeroom or his history classes.
Her mind fast-forwards You should've seen the bastard

this morning, stops, rewinds her eyes catching
his in World Civ sliding down her cleavage.
No, too gross: eject. Instead: "His clothes,

they’re like so Yesterday." Safe choice, that place
half underground, walls papered with dead names,
the living room of all the guys' parents.

There, Ashley wears the name Anton and Eva
fit her into when she was only a dream,
in the Budapest whose air their dreams still breathe.

"Elektra." Imagine. Years of getting called
"Lightbulb" or "Hydro" in elementary school
sent her off to Central Tech as Ashley.

She broke it to them slowly. They have a thing
about new things — whatever some Hungarian
fossil didn't invent or eat. Anton's

instrument hatelist targets electric shavers,
digital watches, Japanese violins.
"And Eva goes like Peanuts butter isn't

a launch. Cheese isn't cheese unless it reeks.
Forget about sushi." She cringes when they talk,
their tongues caught up on consonants sticky

with foreign memories. Yet tonight, past one,
Ashley won't fall asleep till they come home
(the tables stacked, the door's sign switched to CLOSED)

and whisper the old world into her ear,
their breath threading with hers in endearments
like nothing spoken by her yesterday.


John Reibetanz's works copyright © to the author.


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