Barrett Warner
| Fiction

I’m pretty sure Yo still thinks of having sex with her husband. If I had an ex-wife I’d think about having sex with her, too. I’d make a salad or cook something and bring it to her and ask if she wanted to have sex. Even if she didn’t want to, we could still have some chicken and could talk. I could say, pass the ketchup.

Mr. Umbec taught geometry, but he couldn’t hold his liquor. Our favorite joke after his bagged lunch and his chronic vodka tumbler—Mr. Umbec: Would you diagram the fourth dimension? He’d pause at the wall of theorems, pat his worldly forehead, and reach for his chalk wand. The blitzed magic made us howl.

If Quadratic could speak he might consider explaining a few things. Divorce, he might say, that’s the whole reason I’m never getting married.

Once I think Yo has her mouth on me. When I open my eyes she’s just sitting on the bed while the dog licks me. I laugh with her at the prank, but I tell you, it bothers me.

The banker brings a pizza. He sets it on his sports car and wants to talk, but first he offers me a slice. I tell him, Nah. He says, “What are you afraid of, making a mess?” He takes a slice and smears it on the hood. “Don’t worry about that, I got people who’ll clean that up.”

He wants to know if a girlfriend can bring a horse to live on the farm. How many? I ask. “One,” he says. There’s room for a thousand, I say.

I wonder if he tells other people that I’m a guy who’ll clean up one of his messes.

Yo isn’t too keen on the population increase at the farm. She has twelve years over me, and the banker has twelve more years over her, but his girlfriend is my age. “Probably she has breasts that would make me cry,” she says. “Probably has a name like Taffy. You’ll have to start wearing clothes all the time.”

This is not something I considered, having to be more self-conscious because someone else would be around, or Yo being nervous about how she fits into my life. Mostly, I’ve been thinking I’d like to have a horse too, and a small herd is easier than having just one lonely horse. Prey animals love a cluster.

Barrett Warner is the author of two chapbooks, My Friend Ken Harvey (Publishing Genius, 2014) and Til I’m Blue in the Face (Tropos, 1994). He won the 2014 Cloudbank poetry prize and his work has recently appeared in Consequence Magazine, Revolution John, Atticus Review, and elsewhere.

Notice the Hills
Many Letters Later