I dressed blackunderwearredbra I worried that the strap would be seen & then I remembered I didn’t careatall fucktheorchestra and its fuckingdresscode skinnyjeansblackboots and crammed concertblack balledup I walked to the hall wrinkledclothes writhedatthethought of performance unpacked the viola to violentclouds of rosindust slippedpegs & then I remembered the timeofyear changeofseasons is such a bitch for stringplayers I shared a stand with Luciano casanovawhosmelled of toomanycigarettes greeted me with discoloredsmile he was thirtyeight that year and I oftenwondered about the last time he was at the dentist weplayed a concerto and otherpieces I barely remember overturesymphony butwhichones I couldn’t tellyou like I said I really didn’t careatall applauseandovation brightlights reflectedwhite on mapleplank despitedust no matter how shitty you play you’re supposedtosmile at the endlater atthebar I drank ginandtonics one oldfashioned met someone new at lastcall wewalked to the parkinglot waxedpoeticon BillieHoliday&BessieSmith at his apartmenteerilyimmaculate welistened to pressedvinyl JohnnySmith a guitarist likeDjango I should lovehim but I can’t listenanymore notnownottodaymaybenotever. It was four in the morning I took his hand I was freezing low blood sugar no dinner no heat no thing to eat he had only a sheet and bedspread my body shuddered as if some precognition told it what was to come I showered immediatelyshed myclothesuponentering my basementapartment everythingached mybreasts ached myskinached mybody ached and I scrubbedlikehell I made a small load of contaminatedclothes pacingshaking in still Tourette’s broughtonbydisbelief bytheblackunderwearredbra skinnyjeans waddedcruddy cummyconcertblack the rest tainted theapartment a taintedapparition teemingoverflowing mymother’s scarfaprayershawl a carrier I cured it with essentialoils teatreeandtangerine postulated the halflife of cheapcologne sometimearound nine a.m. I calledmysister. Things like this happen all the time.
This selection comes from Clare Louise Harmon’s book The Thingbody, available now from Instar Books. Purchase your copy here!
Clare Louise Harmon is a musician and poet. She is the author of The Thingbody (Instar Books, 2015) and If Wishes Were Horses the Poor Would Ride (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous magazines and journals including Sixth Finch, PANK, Tammy, Lockjaw, and The Feminist Wire. An advocate for rape survivors and persons in recovery from eating disorders, she regularly volunteers for The Emily Program as a guest speaker and blogger.
She currently teaches violin, viola, and piano at the Louisiana Academy of the Performing Arts and lives in New Orleans with her rescue dog, Tink.
Jennifer Hanks is the author of the forthcoming chapbooks Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press) and The Unsteady Planet(Instar Books), a collaboration with illustrator Julie Herndon. Her work has appeared in Arcadia, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Muzzle, Menacing Hedge, PANK, and other journals. She writes an ongoing column, Disorder Reigns, for Arcadia‘s online sundries blog. She is an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans.
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