By choking in

10 hours

5 minutes

27 seconds

while watching Love

It or Lease It

on the television

at the gym,

and climbing the stairs

endlessly to no nowhere

I can’t walk to the grocery store, which is not to say I don’t walk to the grocery store but that every time I have walked to the grocery store, alone, at night, I know I am being followed. Or if not followed, then watched, to be followed on a future night time trip to the grocery store, which is next to the gym. I know a jogger in pink shorts and earbuds is a killer, a knife hidden in the elastic of their gym wear. I know the man at the bus stop has a rag soaked in ether at the ready, because all men at all bus stops have a rag soaked in ether. Because they know I need to get food eventually. They know I will walk to the grocery store because they have been following me forever. Likewise, I know once I’ve been drugged or chained to a radiator or killed and skinned and made into a lampshade, the bulb lighting me up from the inside out, my body—this little thing my mother pushed into the world and has put up with for so long—will be brutalized in ways I haven’t even imagined yet, but that I might deserve. And that is the worst part.


Tatiana Ryckman was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the author of the chapbook, Twenty-Something, and assistant editor at sunnyoutside press.

Submit a comment