Trading Places by Mercedes Lawry

The singular fellow, oh, what does he know about the cursed, lulling down the street like a piece of fresh bread smeared with butter? He’s tip top and lucky in love and never in need of courage. Dash of the sea in his honey-blue eyes, bones carved by angels, slick tongue with a way of the words, like pry bars they are, to the flattery. I’d like to lean my whiskers against his creamy black hair. I’d like his stylish jacket and his cock o’ the walk fedora. I’d like to suck out all his air and take it into myself, full fat with the measure of what he has, leave the shell of him here in a puddle of piss with my woebegone story and the black heart of me. I’m a dreamer in the glove of despair, waving my fingers. You might read those signs as a wry hello or the jolly embrace of the puke and the shit. I am one of a thousand and only myself as is he, the fellow who strides past with nary a blink or a count of the cold. I’d like his bed and his mother and his dry socks. I’d like his stink of posh soap and his glamorous whiskey and his memories of summer. Now, he’s away and I’m here and there’s just the skim of a hope of oblivion. You clabbered souls with a fix and a full bottle, you’re welcome along to the ruin and maybe a song about long ago that’ll rip at the dim sorrows you thought were deep and buried with your old dogs. Life in the muck isn’t all bad, just the breadth of it, the width, the seams, the chinks, the fractures and the marrow. Just that.


Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Harpur Palate, Natural Bridge, and others.  Thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she’s published two chapbooks, most recently “Happy Darkness.” She’s also published short fiction, essays and stories and poems for children and lives in Seattle.

This piece was originally published on Flash Flash Click. We are honored to host it here in partnership and collaboration.

Image: “Her Eye EXP” by Garrett Wilber