night line

police fine combing your street or so you’re posting
and I say duck please don’t get shot wanna talk to you
in the morning, can I come over
can I live in the cellar as the woman you keep under,
would you advise me not to get killed by that sword

mother of all that is stone

My friend who’s a movie star, she became one when she was all out of time, a minor miracle, an actress in her late — ,
she’d been hacking it as a niche theater woman, yes voice no mouth, and:
she had married a god to the living, one tall dark talented matinee idol, son and lone heir of a cash gasoline empire; he had grown up in palaces plural
and he was so nice about it
if you had to cast two people as benevolent monarchs from a parliamentary republic, the kind of royals who catch bulimia and punctured bicycles just like us,
only he got the part
hell alive to endure affection when you don’t cut through the noise
who, her

until: there was this sudden dearth of beautiful women who could serve class and female at once, blue bones dove back, long blonde hair she could be the age-appropriate romantic interest for gritty detective man, she could get a prestige drama anchored on her bad self, she could be the enchantress

we’d be walking around strangers would bend in respect
you were phenomenal in (—) oh thank you
a movie star at fifty how about that

me, though, I was loved up the first time she said I could visit
and she introduced me to the washing machine
proud owner of a fully operative washing machine, she beamed at it,

for days we tried to warn you:
listen to me
i know where Mita Piedra keeps the washing machine
yes it’s awesome what don’t you get it’s an enormous deal what

Barbara Genova (she/them) is the pen name of a writer who got stranded in Central Europe during the first Covid lockdown. She’s the author of Dirt City, a monthly story column hosted by Bureau of Complaint. She’s a 2022 Best of the Net nominee for a story called “our lady of the utterly bodied”and a 2022 Pushcart Prize nominee for a poem titled “can’t negotiate with the devil (or, a devil)”. Selected credits include Hobart, Strange Horizons, Expat Press, Misery Tourism, Last Estate, Return, Witch Craft Magazine and Cold Signal.

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