When You Were Young You Ate at KFC

Prairie Fire - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BEN­JAMIN HERTWIG

94

When you were young there was noth­ing like KFC on New Year’s Eve— you ate as though try­ing to lo­cate god in the card­board be­hind the store up the street. The long­ing alone could tip you into the ocean you’d wake with an­other stranger on your couch, his air slowly be­com­ing your air, as all things be­come one thing in time. And some­times your city for­gets which city it is—all of the places you’ve lived smell mostly the same be­cause thrift store books smell mostly the same. Stick your nose in a ran­dom pa­per­back: you’ll smell the fu­ture, where the lonely old still ask about love,

tell you about life be­fore the di­vorce and af­ter, what evenings are like now: warm light on the red brick school, ab­sence when the sun goes away. It’s sen­ti­men­tal be­cause it isn’t. You are young and di­vorced your­self. You are just two hu­mans smelling books in thrift stores as though you could un­cover all of the ways you’ve failed old lovers or find god be­tween the pages of a con­ver­sa­tion that isn’t re­ally a con­ver­sa­tion, more of a prayer, like dear god we’re all fucked up, help us to un­fuck one an­other, un­fuck us in the full­ness of time.

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