Girard Avenue


Say you’re twenty-one and throw a party where you are house-sitting, a big row-house in a once opulent neighborhood, and you’ve danced with him, Russell, who is twenty-nine, and when he tries to get into your pants you let him, and say you never hear the stories about how Russell is really into girls your age, a lot of them, as told by Jimmy, who your close friend dated briefly to escape her abortion-guy, and well, say you go with Russell to Chicago, and get used to the temperatures, so when your older sister gets married and moves out there the two of you stay close, like when you shared a room growing up, and she let you listen to Abbey Road over and over, and have the top bunk, and a little later she sent you out to find out about birth control when you needed it, at some point, and then in Chicago, Russell’s oil paint smell and fluid, army-brat-Texan accent wears off on you, and his diamondo-pattern dada-vests, and, let’s face it, his luck, and in the summer, say you and your sister, who’s pining for a change of her own, go to Italy for a whole month, which feels new, beginning to end, keeping the window box begonias alive, cutting off your parents, drinking chianti, and both of you can see and hear ghosts, but only the ones whose stories ring true, and you name your daughter Penny Lane

Valerie Fox writes: “My recent chapbook, Insomniatic [poems], was published by PS Books. Previously I published The Rorschach Factory (Straw Gate Books) and The Glass Book (Texture Press). I have published work in Painted Bride Quarterly, Philadelphia Stories, Ping Pong, Hanging Loose, Apiary, Juked, Cordite Poetry Review, qarrtsiluni, Sentence and other journals. I live in central New Jersey and teach at Drexel University.”