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Tome On The Range

New Poetry By: Kate Monica
Karl Smith , June 14th, 2015 07:56

In a second week of work from writers on the newly-established publishing arm of Electric Cereal, new writing this week comes to you via the American North East in poetry from Kate Monica's forthcoming collection Nervous Universe

Sunday Afternoon, New Apartment. Mid-Conversation.

I look at your laptop screen and change the song,
immediately start a conversation to distract you from the song
because I don’t like it as much when there’s pressure and you’ve
never heard it and
I want you to like every idea I’ve ever had.

I can make friends if there’s enough background noise.
You stand by the sink in your kitchenette washing probably
the same plate over and over,
talking of your Mom’s new cancer,
how the spores inside her face grew outward
until there was no more skin or flesh to devour
and then it appeared as only a white blot.

You ask if I want to try a brand of whiskey that’s
got like double well not quite double but at least 20% more alcohol content
than what I normally drink,
and it tastes nutty,
and it tastes like you’ve poured it from a gasoline tank.

I say “tastes nutty.”
You say your godmother was stabbed to death so this cancer thing
really isn’t that big a deal.
I sometimes can be one of those people who
when trying to comfort someone else offers up an even more miserable story
of failure, sadness, misfortune, (etc)
depending on what is at stake
but I cannot compete with this thank God
if you find those kinds of people irritating.

The cello case on the far wall is probably empty
but I don’t ask you to open it—
I wish you played the cello.
I promise this will only be true the first few times we hang out but
I have been thinking about how to organically say I have to go
if after a brief but torturous episode of silence
we both try initiating a new topic of conversation at the same time
“no, you go, it wasn’t really anything—”

I didn’t know cancer could grow there

Kate Monica is a student at the University of Connecticut. Her poetry has been published in theNewerYork, Hart House Review, and Holey Scripture. She is the author of the poetry collection, Nervous Universe (Electric Cereal, 2015).