the problem with experimental baptists

he always woke up violently. you knew this because the woman you loved slept with him every night she wasn’t sleeping with you. she was thin and long blonde, and she played up her role in the world. she was a theater major who was always acting out.

she wanted to be full of wide ideas, but she couldn’t let go of her baptist upbringing, and when things got heated she went straight back to the brimstone. she burned you with her eyes. jesus shot out of them at all the wrong times. making her cross-eyed.

she used sharp words that cut through the tendons of a thing until you felt the knife vibrate through your bones. you tried not to care because you didn’t really believe that sex with him could possibly be worth talking about. so often. so loud.

she would come to you with bruises, and seek comfort in your bed, and the next day do all she could to make you suffer for her sins. she reminded you of the noon whistle that sounded daily to let everyone know it was lunchtime. such a high-pitched to-do.

the same whistle would sound when it was necessary to seek shelter from an imminent storm. she should have come with her own alarm, but if the sound of sustenance and shelter are the same, you end up being fed baloney either way.

you began to fall asleep imagining a tiny tower being built inside of you. atop, a siren. your own whistling warning tuned to sound when desire outweighed well-being. the instability of beauty and the shearing winds of cruelty have always been nature’s most chased-after storm.

you drove into the forest one day and spent hours watching coyotes play in a stream. she held your hand. it was like walking with an IV of precious fluids that without you would die, meaningfully, minutes later. so you held on though the path was unsteady, your balance iffy.

she told you she loved you more than god, but maybe you should drive into an oncoming semi-trailer on the way home because she’d rather die then let anyone find out about you. if a heart beats in the woods, but nobody is there to hold it, is it actually beating?

the next day, she brought her boyfriend over and said, someday i’m going to have first middle and last name’s baby, because that’s all i want in the world. you said, tell him. and then waited for the next several months to kick in, so you could breathe again.

after that the doctor asked if you knew you had asthma. you said it’s hard to keep the lungs working at full capacity when blowing the noon whistle takes every breath you’ve got.

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