Cleveland St


Cleveland St
by Kate Jayroe

I wandered your borrowed house with a flat glass of wine swirling the glass. I said, “Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home now.” Your cat was drinking out the toilet, upstairs.

The first day you’re gone, I take your place at the table. I look around, uneasy, but practiced. I’ve been steering this truck for months anyhow, from the itchy prick of your lap. This was how you had it. This was what you wanted.

I measured my height along the spine of your closet and searched your house for dildos. Your attic stank of American Spirits and self-asphyxiation with an expensive leather belt.

I didn’t find your dildos or your electric shock paddles you used on my ass cheeks once. Instead, angry letters from women, from me months ago, a leather whip with tassels, signed: “funbags Santa”.

A rolled up dollar bill in your desk. A rolled up twenty in your cabinet. Mascara stains on the bed pillows. Empty bottles of Svedka Vodka in martial stance, and an odd Grey Goose bottle, lonely in its isolated splendor.

I brought man after man after man to your bed and I burned sage and I washed your sheets you left dirty for me and I cried on your shag rug and the best man of the men I brought to your bed told me you’re a sick man who is sad and leaves his cat on a mat and fucks women down on their luck because you’re so sick and so sad and the man cooked me vegan spaghetti as he said this.

The first time I stayed in your house, months ago, a different man cooked me BBQ chicken and asked me on a date and I said “yes” but when I wasn’t drunk anymore I said “no” and the cat wouldn’t come out of the basement wall near your expensive-ass washing machine that sang when its job was done.

I smoked a joint in your shower and left the roach waiting on your windowsill, so you could see it and know I was the one who deserves to be here and not you

I cooked crab omelet in your kitchen on Christmas Eve and fantasized about choking you until you couldn’t move

When you lumbered into your bedroom and peeled your shirt and squinted like an old man wanting boyhood, I knew saying “no” wouldn’t do anything

and it didn’t

but you asked me over and over if the money was enough money and if you were totally horrible and disgusting and if I was going to cum on your face for you and If I was submissive or dominant and if I wanted to get married anytime soon and If knew the poetry editor we both know who you couldn’t wait to tell me you’d fucked and you had more than one woman’s coat on your coat rack and you gave me one to wear when you took me outside to smoke and you said this time of year, the world is dying a little, and that made me want to be with you tonight, you know?

And I hid my laughing face in my elbow and already felt like everything you said was coming out of the world’s best-clinched anus but you could pick me up so easily and pin me down on your furniture with such grand effect

You had me scared to laugh at you or tell you “no” and then the time I did push you away it didn’t do much good and I thought isn’t it just like me to be here right now


Kate Jayroe‘s work appears in Hobart, NANO Fiction, Juked, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. 

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