The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: J. Gay’s “Decomposition”

J. Gay

Chemical Fire

A hazy morning as smoke oozes across the sky. I miss the
white light of the desert. The light here is yellow. It is thick
and shoves itself into my mouth like a gag. Today, the
asphalt will be so hot that you will break eggs on the curb
while nursing a forty. I will wear a dress and no underwear.
The sweat will gather around our jointed skin, making us
glistening and unbearable.


There is a chemical fire burning in New Iberia. Businesses
have been evacuated within a five-mile radius.


At night, you count the holes in the ceiling. Sometimes, you
have waking nightmares about spiders. You scream at the
moon for birthing them. I pretend to sleep. I wait for you to
wear yourself out like a two-year old. You turn off the a/c
and open a window. You count by threes. 3, 6, 9… 12, 15,
18… 21, 24, 27… 30, 33, 36… The grinding, the grinding, the
grinding of the brain.


The cause of the fire is unknown. It is fueled by asphaltene
treatment products, biocides, and corrosion inhibitors.


Together, we drink a bottle of wine. You say I make you
lonely. Outside, the hum of cicadas aches its way to
crescendo, a siren. The trees are heavy with sound. I tell you
my womb is a thrumming web. You open the slider and
throw the empty wine bottle into the street. The glass glitters
in the light of oncoming high-beams.


An information officer for the State Troopers stated, “Well,
we just gotta let it burn itself out.”

This selection is from J. Gay’s book Decomposition, available from dancing girl press! Purchase your copy here!

J. Gay was born and raised in Louisiana. She received her Bachelor’s from the College of Santa Fe and her Master’s from Stonecoast. She lives in New Mexico with her husband and son. Decomposition is her first chapbook. Her website is

Darren C. Demaree is the author of three poetry collections, As We Refer to Our Bodies (2013, 8th House), Temporary Champions (2014, Main Street Rag), and Not For Art For Prayer (2015, 8th House). He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He is also a founding editor of Ovenbird Poetry and AltOhio. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.


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