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Lemmings at Heart

Jessica Vance

The garishly lit Love’s sign tells me that gas runs at $3.33, and experience tells me that you are equally as costly. Even so, I answer when you call. Now at dawn, maple skies melt into the crowns of trees, becoming glistening halos against sable silhouettes; a beautiful yet shoddy imitation of the way your hair splays around your face in the wind. The Wild Cherry Freeze, along with your shoulder, is the coldest thing you’ve ever given me. It’s a charming crimson like your cheeks and dewy like the iridescent oil streaks that stain the pavement, which, like you, have likely killed many things. I can see the slick spots in my mind even as we leave, and know that it will spend its nights smothering surrounding plants and strangling animals with its film. As we blink past a field of cows not so far past, I wonder whether they’d eat those befouled flowers; accidentally letting it coat their tongues and throats before the suffocation set in, and praying that the sludge would melt away, leaving only a red stain. My heart hurts for them and myself, a known victim of sympathy pains. Though I am comforted by the new knowledge that I, at least, am not afraid to be taken out to pasture along the I-90. How could I be, when I’ve seen you this way? When I’ve known you for so long.

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