Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 44
Spring equinox, 2022

Featured artwork, v903 (Dark Oddities Series), by Joe Lugara

New Works

Suzanne Manizza Roszak

Check #164

It goes like this. There is a thought that you can't escape, which is something you've always feared would happen and something that has tended to happen because you've feared it, meaning that in theory your current state is routine and shouldn't alarm you—only now it is worse and it does. You've been living in a darkened room, and the sun goes up undetected and doesn't interrupt your sleep, a fact you're thankful for, sleep representing the blessing that it is, the body's grace, and consciousness a knot of sick, of disquiet. The chicken that you eat at midnight is fried but soft and pulpy; it is delivered by a guy your age, a guy with a face that deepens your sense of isolation because despite being intensely recognizable he doesn't know you—"Hey, man," he says late evening after late evening, never varying his expression or tone—and you eat and eat and eat and don't stop to wipe the crumbles from your lips. You are not the child whose dietary conduct your one parent followed with disturbing attention. For good or bad you were left to yourself. Now the specters of all the small hurt bodies in the world are the ones that refuse to quit you. Ghost boys and more so ghost girls invade your brain; whose job was it to deliver them? You can't stop thinking about the things they've seen and the things you haven't. You've been living in a darkened room, and the therapist whose address you highlight in the Yellow Pages suggests a cocktail of daylight and urban running and prescription drugs. You nod back at him, wise and beardless, then make your way to the end of the pier where you attempt to toss the script into the tide. It has to be folded first into an airplane not to sail back and wrap itself around your forehead. A tide is a thing you've only just learned that rivers can have: they can rise and fall, sloshing against the dam and back like bathtub water. The brain-children crowd and elbow each other, engage in pointless conversations. They are unconcerned with your survival; no one washed their arms or ankles in a vat of suds. The delivery guy comes around again and although you wish you were you are not at home, not figuratively, which is the way in which it counts. To yourself you are a pile of waste, a blunder, a glitch. The brain-children cry in the night.

Suzanne Manizza Roszak's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, The Journal, Ninth Letter and Verse Daily. Suzanne is an assistant professor of English at the University of Groningen, a reader for CutBank, and an editorial assistant for Seneca Review.