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What’s New

by Jill McDonough

I work on an essay about the New South, hear
Josey talking to Siri in the next room. Josey’s
drinking coffee and texting Adam, using a robot voice
to say It’s. Def-in-ite-ly. A New World. Period, trying
to help Siri understand. Siri understands. She’s
texting Adam about trans stuff, what happens to young
butches when everybody’s trans. Everybody: as if.
So what’s new? I imagine butches never imagined
pressure from the left. Too busy with douches like
Santorum, his man-on-dog, how once gays get married,
what keeps people from fucking their dogs? Oh,
Rick, poor Rick; no one wants to fuck a dog but you,
dude. Dudes snort at Rachel, say she looks like a man:
Wait, what’s wrong with looking like a man? I ask.
I thought we all liked men. I love me my fellow man.
Going trans—like IVF, or getting a puppy—just seems
like a lot of hassle to me. Lucky me: life so finely tuned
that something new just seems too much, too much to do,
too much trouble to have to go through. Washing dishes,
making slow cooker beef stew’s enough for me. Josey goes
across the street, new condo’s open house, texts to tell me,
Siri-free. Tell me if you can see me from in there, I ask,
wondering if we need better blinds. I see people inside,
in their baseball hats, imagining new lives, new walk to their
new subway stop. People slowly turning through fresh
new rooms, all of them wanting to live across from us.
High noon, streets sloppy with old snow. Power lines
twitch off their cold and glassy rain. New footsteps walk up
the new stairs across the street, again and again and again.


Jill McDonough, a three-time Pushcart Prize winner, is the recipient of Lannan, NEA, Cullman Center, and Stegner fellowships. Her most recent book is Where You Live (Salt, 2012); REAPER, her fourth collection, is forthcoming from Alice James Books. She directs the MFA program at UMass-Boston and also directs 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center online. (7/2015)

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