Bexley, Pennslyvania
Matthew Kirkpatrick

Bexley, Pennsylvania ("City of Criminals," "Gray Water USA") facts: First successful test flight of a jet-propelled aircraft on U.S. soil. The porcelain-skinned jet, invisible in the white morning sky, sounded against the mountains only for a minute. Then a white nothing.

She picked him up in her father's truck. She wore the tightest dress he had ever seen. The black dress covered her arms, but her cleavage was visible through a circular opening, approximately four inches in diameter, creating a window to her breasts, her skin, and to, he believed, her soul, which he imagined to be seated somewhere between those breasts. He wanted to tell her that she had a beautiful soul. She had dyed her hair black, again, almost indigo, and horizontally striped black and white tights covered her legs. What he did not know when he climbed into the truck still chewing the last bite of the dinner that Mother had prepared for him—a seven ounce steak, overdone, a potato, underdone, an ear of corn, also underdone, butter—was that her tights were held up by garter belts. He did not yet understand that garter belts were not just a thing in old movies, that they were real, that some girls wore them to hold up their thigh-high tights, and that later, in the darkness of the dance, next to the stage where the DJ would play Styx's Lady, she, high from a single Marlboro cigarette, would show him the meaning of thigh-high and garter and let him rest his fingers on her bare leg, on a patch of skin he had not yet conceived of imagining.

Matthew Kirkpatrick has stories in or coming from Conjunctions, Diagram, Harp & Altar and others.

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