Girls: Now & Then

There’s the one who traces her vampy lips with her vampy nails, hungry, always hungry, and she leans forward so inviting, and oh how they feed her, and you watch as they don’t learn as they come back for more, and they leave with less, and you remember how her mother and father liked to entertain and be entertained and pretended the girl wasn’t alone, lost in space with her cold tv dinners and her imaginary friends until the girl reimagined herself over and over.

There’s the one who cracks jokes like gum and drinks everyone under, and over a table, dance queening with wild hair, spinning wild tales, and when she smiles as if you are the only person in the room, you try not to care that everyone else feels the same and you remember the pajama parties in that airless apartment and the steady stream of spirits down her father’s throat, and the get the red out of her mother’s eyes, and you remember seeking refuge with the girl in her closet breathing in heartbeats, breathing out dust until the girl disappeared in her father’s shoes and her mother’s clothes.

There’s the one who speed talks and speed walks all buttoned up to her neck, her apartment spotless, and you’re reluctant to sit on her couch because she’ll smooth it after you leave, and she’s wiping fingerprints from the mirror to remove any evidence of before because there is only tomorrow, and you remember the curl in her mother’s lip, the impatience on her father’s brow, the stop talking/spit it out, the stop slouching/relax, the little messes, the big cleanups, until the girl went from headaches to head butts to head fucks, until she tore all the feathers from her pillow, until she forgot that she once had a dream.



Karen CrawfordKaren Crawford lives and writes in the City of Angels. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in
Bending Genres, Cheap Pop, Maudlin House, Reflex Fiction, 100 Word Story, and elsewhere.