Pregnant and Screaming by Dale Champlin

My lover is walled into silence. I used to sit by the trash cans in my back alley smoking a joint while no one was looking. I called it desperation. My silence was all-consuming—too early pregnant—looking at gravel in the potholes back there and the neighbor’s dog wiggling and whining for a cuddle. Can you imagine? I wanted to swallow the back gate, the garage, the alleyway whole. Who could I talk to? Even the neighbors were ignorant of my situation. Butch, that was his name—thought that name sounded cool until someone tried to test him by squeezing a trigger a tiny bit and ended up blowing his head off for a measly baggy of blow. I doubt if Butch’ll get into heaven looking like that. When I was little, my sister’s boyfriend really pissed me off one day. I took it out on her, yanked her off the top bunk where they were getting it on, I barely managed to grab her by the legs before her head slammed into the floor.

My sister is more beautiful than me. Bigger tits, narrow hips, cute bangs cut straight across. I just found out my first boyfriend, not Butch, died five years ago. I tear up remembering him, especially when I think about the peach fuzz on his upper lip. How I loved to kiss that boy. But I’m not much of a weeper. Nowadays I’m mostly into rage. Just put a cigarette out on your inner arm, Butch used to tell me. I could never see the sense in that. Look where it got him.

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