Buried

– Stefen Styrsky

Even though there was that Sunday you found yourself strung-out behind Whole Foods, banging on the metal service door you imagined was the entrance to a secret nightclub, and only took off when a stock boy called the cops, but not before grabbing an apple, waxy and glowing, from atop a pyramid of apples on a loading cart, gnawing the flesh on the way home the way a hunted dog eats on the run, or that week you spent in the hospital after you ran around the office slapping off the lights because the current made the fluorescent tubes horny, and they jangled while having sex, what runs in your head like a favorite TV show on a repeat loop is dancing all night, then at sunrise piling into a friend’s car, rumbling up to the 24-hour diner in Adams Morgan, claiming a booth, your ears still pumping with music, a guy you had met at the club next to you, his warm hand stuck down the back of your jeans, the waiter remarking, “You’re up early,” and you saying, “We’re just getting back,” while spooning out a beat on the formica tabletop, so you call your sponsor who tells you to get on your knees and pray, but since you don’t believe in god, decide to give the kitchen a real good scrub (grease coats the oven dials; you guess what temperature you set it), slide the refrigerator out, dig the broom into the dust and hair and roach shit and discover an ecstasy pill that must’ve spilled out of a bag and rolled unnoticed beneath the fridge, what everyone called “hugs and kisses,” not just because one side is stamped with an X inside an O, but because it makes you touchy-feely, makes you want to thread your fingers down someone’s spine, and a big problem because it’s speedy — cut with a dash of crack — and well, you’re really bored, the little kick in the ass would keep you humming for days, all your waking (actually, there would be no sleeping) hours one fiery arc like a comet across a clear, midnight sky, which you pick up, figuring if life’s going to conspire against you to give you a pill from out of nowhere as if your prayers on those nights when you showed up at your dealer’s apartment, and he told you “Fresh out,” though graciously offered you a toke on his bong, but didn’t know where you might score something, something you needed so bad you actually prayed, stupid stuff, “Just let me find one little pill dropped on the sidewalk by all these crack heads coming and going, or maybe a glassine envelope coated inside with a little leftover white crust,” are finally delay-answered, though what a jerk god or that higher power is, granting your wish now when you’re three days shy of thirty sober, and lick.

 

Stefen Styrsky

Stefen Styrsky’s poetry and fiction has appeared in “The James White Review,” “Cactus Heart,” “Best Gay Stories 2014” and “The Tahoma Literary Review.”