It must have got lost in the mail | Susannah Betts

The sweatshirt still smells musty at the third wash
and my thong still in the corner of the laundromat floor
where I left it. Does spandex decompose? I didn’t like
the look of someone else’s blue detergent on my red so I couldn’t own
the thong after I saw it. Thongs don’t get adopted
though grandma’s lingerie sold on ebay. How long until we’re vintage, love?
When we can wrap our texts in red ribbons and call them letters?
My hypothesis was the experiment, was the procedure,
was the sum of the materials composed of them,
2+2+2+2+9+3+1, is that enough to get your number?

The perks of being gay in a world where invisible: your grandpa
asks you how your girlfriends are doing and you say “good” and have only
told a listening-lie. My favorite fucked-up term of the 1940s frat,
yes, I’ll use it in a sentence: Mary-Sue was Smitty’s date until Muzzy
went and bird-dogged her. She was quite the catch
though I don’t know if she ever got the buckshot out,
I guess it doesn’t matter now that her records read deceased,
now that the lead can leech her veins in peace.

Today I’m called a thot and I can’t remember if
girlfriend thinks I should be offended. Is it an acronym for something?
There exists a habit of watching when she speaks.

My dentist says it’s good I focus on my studies.
I didn’t realize that not to have a boyfriend
meant I’m textbook-only intimate.
A sultry wink, a promise that “I still have ways to get distracted,”
yeah, that would Put Her In Her Place,
force her to imagine all the Hot Lesbian Sex—
Retribution! For the defensive stare that recently moved in
and crowded out my natural expression, shortened the commute,
on-call, for when faces of collective strangers signal
anything but nothing at our pressed palms together

but the dental tools are blocking the path to say,
my tongue can’t even reach my cheek,
it’s pinned to jaw and scratches cotton on the way.

Now we’re on the news,
getting married in three and four and thirty-two states,
we are getting married all over the place
and that’s pretty nice I guess
but I don’t remember receiving an invitation,


Susannah Betts is a student at Wesleyan University, writing poetry and fiction and studying physics. She’s also the fiction editor of The Fem, an online literary magazine. At the urging of some friends, she recently joined twitter @TheRealSusannah.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.