The Anti-Leading Lady’s Nightmare

Courtney Queeney
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It was October. I was between men.

I loved autumn. Sudden cold fronts,
and when I walked, crunching leaves under my feet,
I made a sound like smashing glass.

Then the two men were flanking me.
They were not supposed to meet like this—
on the street, unexplained. We walked
toward the setting sun. I was the wedge between them.

No hard feelings, I said. I didn’t steal anyone’s anything.

It’s hard to walk down a sidewalk between two men,
with all the friction of hips and swinging arms,
and the sun smoldering beautifully
through a haze smog.

I was just hungry, I said. Deal with it. You’re men.

We entered a long hall. They held me up;
my legs wouldn’t lock or step
as we passed the rows of identical cages
to the room of the serious electricity.

How did we get here? I asked. Is this a metaphor?

One of them put a finger to his lips.
At midnight, for a moment, the lights dimmed.

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