Bio Aubri Kaufman is a multi-genre writer with two undergraduate degrees (one in English literature and one in psychology) and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. A handful of her work has been published in various literary magazines, including Close To The Bone (forthcoming), Pink Plastic House, and Rewrites. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @aubrirose
twenty regular cash
I carved you from a stone I found
in the yard, and watched you sink
to the bottom of a paper cup
with my chin pressed
against warm laminate, eye level
until the thin, wax coating
started to peel and float
I could almost see you again
through the waterlogged fibers
“get out of the bathroom,” if we’re late
they’ll think we’re trash
and all that time spent
with gold leaf decoupage
from wrist to temple will be
wasted, you know you can’t drive like that.
say it’s christmas
the day before you turn 30
the glint of glass is everywhere, inside
and out. the kind of break
that means it. splinters
that’ll nestle into the caulk
between the foyer’s floorboards, waiting.
you could turn the house on its side
and try to shake them
loose. and through the windows
it would look just like
you had when you were six
or seven, whose prisms somehow
drowned the sound of an engine starting
while the tires spun on snow, in reverse.
mornings used to unfurl, gently,
reticently, across a boardwalk
sun-bleached slats promising, one by one
you have no place to go.
it’s a tuesday, or maybe a thursday
and perhaps you’ll find yourself
outside the boneyard, smoking
a short the bass player cut you
or in someone’s ford, going 85
on your way to their apartment
or up on a hotel sink, in the dark
after a 12-hour shift.
maybe you’ll visit your grandmother’s
grave, but probably not.
maybe you’ll spend your last twenty dollars
on a styrofoam container of half-price sushi
or pay a woman to paint your nails
next door to the check cashing place
where your mom used to work.
maybe you’ll smell like a makeshift fire pit
for the entire day, and visit
your brother’s farm, push
the neighbor’s son on a tire swing
in that abandoned park they never cleaned up.
or, maybe, you’ll sit in a parked car
outside the convenience store
you used to walk to, years ago
during your high school’s football games
wondering what the fuck
you’re supposed to do about the check engine light.