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Hearse Deferred

by Kelsey Smoot

‘You can’t pay your fucking bills’

he said, in a slow-churning southern drawl

that stuck to the air like the heartiest pork belly

The crow’s feet at his eye corners made him look

a few years older than his silky, starkly brown mane would imply

I regretted my question

Hot grease popped like the bad knee on which

he hobbled while tending the stove top

I wondered if he knew I thought he was beautiful

We drank whiskey mixed with Kool-Aid

and his portly old cat

sauntered right across his dinner plate

while he scooped meat with his hands

and sucked greedily on his thumbs

I couldn’t tell if the lump in my throat

was comprised of titillation

or disdain

We ate with no words

just harried chewing from us both

After, he pulled out a small rusted tin case

from which he drew the shriveled,

half smoked joint from earlier

I spied the brass lighter on the coffee table

—out of his reach

I knew better than to help

He rose from his chair, and grimaced

as the foot on his bad leg slapped the hardwood

In a swift motion, he turned the three foot distance

into one step

by lunging forward and hurling himself onto the couch

All of the bones of his body clanked precariously

He grabbed the lighter, lit the little sprig, and inhaled for eternity

Then, as if the conversation had not been interrupted

by an hour’s time of wordlessness, he continued,

‘so, that’s what it feels like to get older’

About the Author

Kelsey Smoot is a full-time PhD student in the interdisciplinary social sciences and humanities. They are also a poet, advocate, and frequent writer of critical analysis. Some of their other writings can be found here under the name "The Queer Insomniac." Their work can also be found here

From the Editor

Want to read even more? Check out Kelsey's website 

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