I saw a man win the lottery and I thought
Now I will never win. His luck was mine:
the drink he bought me is my one hundred
and thirty nine million dollars. My fortune
was to help this man, fawn-trembling with
windfall and birth pangs of new wealth,
uncollapse in a street. Moonbat, he said
from the ground, fingers in my hair, call all
your friends, we will drink all night, I am
a millionaire. I can’t, I said, I have no friends.
We will buy you some right now he said, but then I stepped
back gasping, philanthropy clogging my nose like birthgoo.
Just a drink, please, people make me nervous.
I phoned my lover from the bar,
and discovered he was in Mexico
and cutting off his hair
to which I said Please, no like I was
begging in the negative for my own life
and I asked him Is anxiety a sin? and he said,
For you probably.
I can’t hear you, he said. There is an ocean outside.
I press, What are you doing to yourself down there?
Are you going to come back looking weird?
Camero! he yelled. I decided to wear my earring again.
My heartbeat was providence at birth, its cessation
will be a popping, instant deflation of all my luck and
lucklessness, a collapse of all fortunes.
Why do I have no friends I whispered to him
because I couldn’t keep from thinking of death
even when he was driving a rental car in the sun
brightly telling me to relax.
About the author:
Julia Whicker was born in North Carolina and lives in Iowa City. She is a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and works for the athletic department at the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in publications like Unstuck and Lurve Magazine.