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Gebrek Aan Beter [For a Lack of Better]

by W.C. Perry

Could I afford a one-bedroom with no windows,

headless showers, unlocked doors, and paper clothes?


The ambulance driver would open my veins for me and

drain my bank account. Seventy-eight hours turns to months.


It’s so sad to see you here. What made you wait so long?

Why do you cry when I touch you like this? If I am incapable of


caring for myself, I’m incapable of defending myself too,

isn’t that right? But what could I do,


lacking anything better?


Could I move back to my old room, rematerialize a catpiss bed mattress

burn effigies to the witch of Moss Hollow, call my aunties


and say: Sorry I couldn’t write fast enough. I’ll be nine-to-five tomorrow.

I want a picture of my mother, her sister, and my grandfather’s wife 


for my birthday. Tomorrow morning is another blasted hillside

grocery store nosebleed. Can’t you be quiet? I’m trying to write.


Remember when I prayed so hard that the creek flooded

and another two hours were spent in bed?


I thought home was where I belonged, but what could I do


lacking anything better?


Could I bite into an apple and shatter every last one of my 

teeth, enough to split my jaw, enough to call off work tomorrow?


Sure, but it’ll cost you the job. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Aren’t lungs made of mahogany exciting? Isn’t the abysmal ring-up of a linen chair

just riveting to you? Enough to die for it, even?


Tell them it’s all we have in stock, but if you want bits off my fingernail


I would be more than glad to help you — Hex or Curse to some extent

burn several candles under my dripping scalp, emptied out

into coiners’ hands. I hid in the coatracks once at Sears, and my mother wept.




Where has my baby gone? But what could I have done,


lacking anything better?

About the Author

W.C. Perry is a writer from southern Ohio and studied writing at Wright State University. They were a semifinalist in Penn State’s Lake Effect Young Poets Competition.

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