Cool girls like her take full-mouthed swigs
of cheap red wine without wincing, then
snap flash photos of themselves cradling
the empty bottles in their black-manicured hands.
She strokes her own pink face and mutters that
she’s a cool girl – iridescent, untarnished and unbothered.
Frat Boy #19 breathes on her neck, and she shoves him away,
bidding him to collapse unaccompanied on the beer-blotched futon
that receives all the rejected boys, who writhe by themselves
until it’s time to try to grab another ass. She learned
the word “alone” from Sesame Street and the word
“stop” from Mrs. Lahey, her seventh-grade gym teacher, who taught
all the pockmarked, brace-faced tween girls that they are
expected to scream until they get their bodies back.
The merlot mixes with the memories until her empty stomach turns
and she jolts to lock herself in the basement bathroom.
When the sugarvomit rises and spills out over her tongue,
she tries to divine her future from the swirls in the bowl, but
all she sees is puke and her own red-rimmed eyes, blank
and blinking, in the toilet water.
–By Sarah Priscus