27 July 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 2

Fast Forward

You couldn't talk to me, you said, meaning

you couldn't hear, which was ok since

I'd lost my voice. That was before I started

singing, pushing the vacuum ahead of me

like a seed spreader, tethered to the stereo

by headphones. You were absent enough for me

to get my singing done, meeting with the Prime Minister,

you said, though that gypsy showed up

pretty fast after I left, your new patient

with eleven troubled sons. That was after I told you

I was having eight of ten symptoms

of the West Nile Virus, but you had to get to the coast.

I didn't know if I'd wake, but I did,

after those dreams about tanks

pursuing me down alleys, and hallucinations

I could see after I sat up and opened my eyes.

You sent an email saying you were contacting the dead.

That was before you asked me if I was leaving

and I said yes, before you cried and told me

I was the most honest person you ever met. That's a cliché

and not true, not the only cliché

you ever told me, though the truth was worse.

That was before you sold the garden at a yard sale,

after you lured the llamas away from me

because they were all I wanted, before I knew

someone could call me beautiful.

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About the author:

Karen Schubert's chapbook The Geography of Lost Houses (2008) was published by Pudding House, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Redactions, the Mayo Review, Slant, Willows Wept Review, and ragazine. In 2008, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology. She is a recent editor of Whiskey Island Magazine. A visiting writer at Texas A&M Commerce, she has eaten handcrafted lasagne with her Italian housemates.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Karen Schubert at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 2, where "Fast Forward" ran on July 27, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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