I ASK TOMMY AGAIN IF HE IS REAL, BUT DON’T BELIEVE HIM by CHELSEA BAYOUTH

His long arms are warm and it is one a.m.
some galloping horse traveling to me
from the lapping midnight of a recent orgasm
and I am out of breath this worknight— his death,
the garnet dancer that lurks in all my most winking brights.

On the pillow where our heads rest, nose to nose,
screw the kitten breath, we wonder which one of us
is in a coma and dreaming the other
while family comes and goes, or more realistically,
the machines gurgle on, artificial angels.

Once, when he was slipped PCP in a joint,
he thought he dreamt me all these years
and was only now realizing that he was out of his mind,
living on the street— our lives together
some spinning slice of candle smoke.

I think: I wish for him to die
first so he doesn’t have to make the world again.
Which snags because it isn’t true. I hope I do.
Look at me, spinning control, trying to weave
reason from ochre and vinegar.

Conjuring our days like my fingers
are that long. Set the kettle. Scour
the tub. Scoop the curly scraps
of carrots into the trash. In illness,
in health? I do:


Chelsea Bayouth is a writer and Emmy Award Winning visual artist from Los Angeles California. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have been published in BOAAT, Roanoke Review, BlazeVox, The Rattling Wall/PEN Center USA, Lunch Ticket, Heavy Feather Review, Stirring Lit, Dryland, Borderlands and many others. She is currently a reader for Palette Poetry and has work forthcoming with Harpoon, CALYX, Duende, and Mom Egg Review. More of her work can be found on her website www.chelseabayouth.com.

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.