Out of Nowhere, in the Middle of a Conversation in Gym

by Sarah Pedersen
she says
     I can’t live inside a spider’s web.
There’s a silence
Nobody knows what she’s talking about.
We’re sitting around her like children playing duck duck goose.

     No, really, it’s impossible.
     It tears too easy.
     It can barely hold a butterfly.
We stare longer, uncomprehending. Misunderstanding.
She sighs like she’s giving away the punch line.
     A butterfly I’m not.

She’s playing with her hair, wrapping
the short tendrils around her fingers, chewing
on the ends.
     Stop that,
We tell her, You’ll get split ends.
     You have split ends.

She lets go of her hair and puts her face in her hands.
     You’ll get acne.
     You have acne.
     You should cover it up with something.
     I am, she says, muffled.

We’re watching her glow and wither.
The fluctuations are startling, endearing. She slouches
and her shoulders hunch, and her middle looks thicker
than it really is.
     Shut-up, I can hear you,
she says in the silence.

Arms taut, she presses her palms against the floor.
She steals our
breath, stirs our
outrage.

     A web won’t work for me, and neither will this.

She stands
walks out of the circle.
We’re left staring at each other,
staring at each other
staring.
Sarah Pedersen is a recent graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in English: Creative Writing. In between eking out a living she enjoys reading, writing, drawing comics, translating Japanese manga and singing made-up songs obnoxiously loud while in the shower.

© 2010, Sarah Pedersen