M.K. Rainey

by M.K. Rainey

Black trees with branches outstretched like tentacles against the ringed glow of the harvest moon. Land and sky blurred a gradient of blue-gray on the horizon so that no man could distinguish where earth ended and the heavens began. Inside the bar, dust motes and smoke married in the air around her. Warped piano against the wall, a boy tickling its keys with a cheap cigarette hanging from his lip. Stella shook the last trickles of drink into her mouth and left the glass on the lid of the Steinway. She danced with a Harper kid, a Skellern twin and dipped into a Fillimore brother’s arms and flirted with all the boys whose meat-colored eyes had become as familiar as her own achromic face in the mirror. The heat crept up her neck, but she only thirsted for more. No one here can love and understand me. The lyrics crooned out of her and the boys laughed and she twirled in the dim light. She watched their phantom faces in the mirror. She swallowed, down raw throat. She felt the world shift beneath her. I’ll arrive late tonight. Blackbird, bye, bye.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 4.

M.K. RaineyM.K. Rainey received her MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She currently teaches writing to the youth of America through Community-Word Project, Wingspan Arts and The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence. She co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series and lives in Harlem with her dog. This poem is part of a chapbook of prose poems that centers around the lives of four generations of women struggling with their art and their own mental health.

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