1 poem

by em fowler

em fowler grew up outside of baltimore, maryland. their work has appeared in online and print publications including Sycamore Review, Homology Lit Mag, Glittermob, and elsewhere. they are a chichimec artist living in kumeyaay territory.

Village Video

would close
for good a decade
later after too much
competition, and alcohol,
and after the owner
had accused me of stealing,
over my obvious guilt,
and quick denial—but
on this day I’m twelve;
walking carefully
through the aisles
behind my mother,
sneaking quick glances
up the stairs
through the tight yellow
hallway where I know
the pornography is
hidden—an old VHS
copy of Angels
in the Outfield
loops
on the tiny square
television hanging
from a pair of chains
in the corner—every scene
complicated by static
and discoloration,
and I contemplate
competition, and the siblings
I know are somewhere with
other families—the final scene
plays where George, the owner
of the team, adopts both Roger
and J.P.—and J.P. says:
I knew it could happen, for the last time
in the movie and I feel
that familiar lurch in the low
of my stomach before mom pushes
me past the pissed-off
desk-clerk toward the door,
warm hand over my mouth,
the other on my back
doing its best
to guide me, and
I can see the gray bite
of the season—piles
of old snow outside
through the dirty glass
door—vomit
spilling through
the spaces
between her thin
fingers onto the ragged blue
carpet next to the popcorn
machine before
the threshold can
be reached
or pierced.

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