A Stonefruit | Clair Dunlap

TWO YEARS LATER
I TELL HIM VERY CLEARLY TO STOP TALKING TO ME.
I USE THE CONCISE PHRASES
I DO NOT LIKE YOU AND I DO NOT WANT TO TALK TO YOU STOP TALKING TO ME
I TELL HIM AND HE REPLIES AFFIRMATIVELY. I TELL HIM AND WHEN MY BOYFRIEND LEAVES THE KITCHEN
AND HE IS THERE, OPENING A BEER, HE DOES NOT
EVER STOP TALKING TO ME. HE ASKS ME WHY MY DAY WAS GOOD.
HE ASKS ME WHY MY DAY WAS GOOD AND IF I DON’T WANT EVERYONE ELSE
TO CALL ME CRAZY ANYMORE
IF I WANT TO LOOK LIKE MY DAY WAS GOOD
I HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING.
AND IN MY SMALLEST VOICE I SAY SOMETHING
AND CANNOT EVEN LOOK AT HIM
AND HE KEEPS TALKING TO ME.

I DON’T KNOW WHY EVERYONE ELSE THINKS THIS ALL LOOKS OKAY.
YOUNG WOMAN SHRINKING RIGHT BACK INTO HIS FIST

I DON’T KNOW WHY EVERYONE ELSE THINKS THIS ALL LOOKS OKAY.
YOUNG WOMAN SHRINKING RIGHT BACK INTO HIS FIST
HIS NICE VOICE ON STRONG, HIS NICE VOICE FOR SHOW.
MY BODY IS HELP. MY BODY IS AFRAID. MY BODY IS SMALL SMALL SMALL SO
MAYBE HE WON’T SEE ME THIS TIME.

I DON’T KNOW WHY EVERYONE ELSE THINKS I SHOULD GET OVER IT
WHEN THEY’VE NEVER BEEN SPLITTING MIGRAINE IN THE CAR
ASKING HIM TO TURN DOWN THOM YORKE PLEASE AND HE DOES IT BUT
HE YELLS AT YOU LATER FOR IT. WHEN HE DOESN’T HAVE TO WATCH THE ROAD. WHEN YOU’RE FALLING ASLEEP DURING HIS FAVORITE MOVIE BECAUSE YOUR BRAIN IS TURNING OFF FROM OVERHEATING AND HE SOUNDS LIKE HE HATES EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU.
WHEN THEY’VE NEVER SAT IN FRONT OF HIM WHILE HE TELLS YOU ABOUT THE GIRLS HE WANTED TO DATE THE DAY AFTER HE CALLED YOU UP AND ENDED THINGS, WHEN THEY’VE NEVER HAD TO PRETEND THAT WAS AN APPROPRIATE CONVERSATION. DIDN’T HAVE TO LAUGH ABOUT IT. DIDN’T HAVE TO HUG HIM SO HE’D FEEL BETTER WHEN HE MADE YOU CRY. DIDN’T HAVE TO SIT IN PUBLIC WHEN HE YELLS AT YOU AND THE WHOLE ROOM WATCHES.

TWO YEARS LATER
I WISH I COULD TELL EVERYONE. I WISH I COULD PLUCK THIS FEAR OUT OF ME
AND LET YOU ALL TASTE IT. SUCK ON THIS PIT FOR YOURSELVES. SOMETIMES
I ALMOST THROW UP. SOMETIMES
I CRY ABOUT IT AND I HATE MYSELF.
SOMETIMES I THINK I MADE IT ALL UP BECAUSE HIS NICE VOICE IS ON
AND YOU’RE ALL TELLING ME I’M WRONG BUT
IF YOU TASTED IT.
IF YOU TASTED IT.

—–
Clair Dunlap grew up just outside Seattle, Washington, and started writing at the age of six. Now she is 22 and lives in the Midwest and spends her free time making vegan cheese, doing pilates, and perfecting a vegetarian paella recipe. Her work can be found, or is forthcoming, in Whale Road Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, The Harpoon Review, Words Dance and others. (sometimes she writes @smallgourd)

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Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

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