Rachelle Mathis

Another California winter on the Strip.

You’d think the neon would have kept us warm,

You’d think a lot of things,

Things meaning things without meaning.

Love. Ache. Blood in my shoes, on my hands. What LA looks like in daylight.


Your car payment, my insurance, rent and our groceries.

Those things

without meaning.

It burns like sulfur in my throat, to talk about this, to talk about


If I could, these years would have never existed.

No consequences, no questions.

No hunger in my stomach, clawing out at my shirt. No hair

falling from my scalp onto travertine floors, blonde on brown. Most

importantly, no dying.

I’m sorry.

We promised not to talk of it.

Let’s imagine I had died instead, it was you in the red dress standing by

the open window, watching the lights and cars and palms. It was you

listening to the sirens of the city, like a lullaby. A mother’s refrain

of chaos and melancholy want stretching over miles.

And me, not you, lying on the floor in my tuxedo counting out crackers

for communion. Christ’s bodies from wheat thins. 100. 200. 300.

I don’t remember. We forget the things that matter, again, those things

with meaning.

You left me to go dancing, you desperate for a night of manufactured

happiness, not me this time. Not me. My red dress brave against my pale

skin. No wait-your red dress, your pale skin. I forget the words, the

parts, my hands, sometimes. I’m in the tuxedo on the floor counting out

crackers. That’s right.

I’m the one who takes off for the roof, dozens of cracker Messiahs

stuffed into my pockets.

I’m the one that makes sick contact with sidewalk 10 floors below.

My brains, not yours. My red, my white,

my pink and gray that spilled with crumbs of Christ. Not yours, I

promise and I swear.

You in the red dress, coming home to flashing

lights and yellow tape.

Be brave, baby, itís a tough night.

Rachelle Mathis is a freelance writer of fiction and poetry. She spends most of her days trying to hold her tongue in classes, and most of her nights singing classic rock songs to her child. She considers Orange County, California to be her home, but currently lives in Colorado with her daughter and a closet with far too many cocktail dresses. Her personal blog may be viewed at

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