He says it’s crazy how much he’s been changed by the Lord or crystals or whatever.He’s always two blunts in, one tardy away from expulsion, an hour or so from police lights at a house party. Once, a girl gave him cash from her savings so he could afford a tattoo, and when he told the next girl, she gave him more. A third girl gave him enough for a sleeve, and now he has a barbed-wire armband under a shirt that is sewn to take cufflinks. A fourth girl says he wears too much hair gel, but he wants it that way, so it shines from the kiosk. Right before he revs his car in the morning, he splashes cologne like a baptist. He has never believed in too much. He pushes coupons into the palms of teens, of women who regret making eye contact. But it’s different this time, he swears to the fifth, he’s humble. When on his lunch break in the food court, he finds the coupons balled in the trash. They upset him like run-over Gideon Bibles, or the pupils of startled raccoons.
Emily Kingery is the author of Invasives (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming). Her work, including prose in Birdcoat Quarterly, Eastern Iowa Review, Midway Journal, and Quarter After Eight, appears widely, and she has been the recipient of several honors and awards in poetry and prose. She teaches English at a small university in Iowa and serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community (mwcqc.org).